Sergeant First Class Chris Richardson was the featured speaker at the annual SDA High School Veterans Day Program November 11.  The program honored veterans of all ages through music, awards, and speakers.
Braxtyn DeGolyer, co-Student Council President gave the welcome, and co-President Sarah Damme introduced SFC Richardson who is currently in the Army Reserves and works as a police officer in Nebraska City.
He began his service after high school by joining the Navy where he served on a submarine for several years.  Later, he served in the National Guard in Iraq.  SFC Richardson has been supported through his military career by his wife Dawn and three children.  Currently, he is in the Army Reserves as a drill sergeant, but he is away from home much less frequently than in the past.
In addition to his keynote speech, the program included music from the High School Choir and Middle School Band.  As is tradition, they performed a medley that included the song for each branch of service.  Veterans were asked to stand and be recognized when they heard their song.
The entire program was a salute to those who have served and an expression of gratitude by those whose lives have been positively affected by the sacrifice.  SFC Richardson shared some of his experiences overseas (including his visit to Saddam Hussein’s palace).
Before his unit deployed, they received a large amount of small flags.  These flags came from Boy Scouts all over who sent them with the hope that every soldier could have one in his or her pocket on deployment.  Each one was in a bag with a note from that scout.  SFC Richardson happened upon a box from a troop in Lincoln, Nebraska.  He took several of those flags with him and kept them for his entire time overseas.
Upon SFC Richardson’s return, he went to those scouts and talked to them about his service.  Though a seemingly small gesture, that time and sharing of memories is what Veterans Day is about - thanking veterans and learning about their experiences firsthand.
In closing, SFC Richardson said, “Take the time today to thank a veteran for all that he or she has done for all of us through military service.  Also take a minute to consider what military has done for that veteran.  He or she has experienced the pride of accomplishment, sense of belonging, and a feeling of camaraderie…  Let us be thankful for our veterans and let us also be thankful for the opportunity to serve.”
“We can be proud that the men and women in uniform today are the very best and brightest in America and responsible for staffing the finest military the United States has produced in its noble history.”