Students and staff at Junction City High School honored veterans at the school’s Veterans Day Ceremony Friday at Shenk Gym.
Col. Stephen Shrader — the garrison commander of the 1st Infantry Division at Fort Riley — served as the event’s featured speaker. He said it is important for community members to remember to thank veterans for their service.
“It makes no difference if you’re a past, present or future vet,” Shrader said. “Ask yourself, when was the last time you thanked a veteran? Regardless of a vet’s branch of service, Veterans Day belongs to every man and woman who has served. Many walk the halls and streets of the community every day. Extend your hand and say thanks.”
Shrader noted that 160,000 soldiers exit military service every year.
“It’s our responsibility to try to transition them into civilian life,” Shrader said.
Fort Riley hosts events for such purposes, including the Hiring and Education Fair, which was held Thursday. The fair featured 76 employers from across the country, Shrader said.
“It shows they understand the sacrifice our vets made,” Shrader said.
The event featured a ceremony in which Junior Reserve Officers’ Training Corps member Danielle Janzen — a junior at Junction City High School — lit candles to memorialize the conflicts American veterans have been involved in. Janzen said the duty meant a lot to her.
“It symbolizes a lot,” Janzen said. “My grandpa is a retired veteran of 20 years. Not only am I paying respect to him, but I’m giving thanks to other vets who have served and are still serving.”
Janzen previously planned on joining the military police after graduation, but recent killings of police officers across the nation have inspired her to serve in a city police force.
“I’ve realized the police force needs more officers,” Janzen said. “People are afraid to wear the blue.”