Hearing firsthand experiences and meeting veterans has been the goal of the Syracuse-Dunbar-Avoca middle school and fourth grade veterans program for the last 17 years.  
Each student invited a veteran to be his or her special guest for the Nov. 8 program.
The students sang for their guests and shared the history of Veterans Day.  They lit three candles symbolizing: “the veterans who have died, all of the veterans in our country, and the veterans who are with us today.”
Many guests were local, and some have been at almost all of the programs. Others traveled in order to be there for the special day.  
Each veteran gave a brief introduction and some shared stories of their time in the service.
There were representatives of almost every branch of the service.
 They served in Iraq, Afghanistan, Germany, Korea, Japan, China, Bosnia, Guam, Vietnam, and many of the United States.  Their service ranged all different time periods starting back in the 1950’s.
Duties included a wide variety of jobs including supply officers, military police, combat engineer, mechanics, truck drivers, ammunition specialist, and frontline nuclear weapons work.  Their stories were personal, the message united in each veteran’s love of serving their fellow Americans.
At the end of the program, awards were given.  The “It Still Fits” award was handed out to several who were in “vintage” uniforms.  Gerald Goering and Bud Knake were the oldest veterans; John Reed was the youngest.  Doug Schultz of Kearney was recognized for traveling the longest distance.
Students had cookies with their guests after the program and continued talking about their service even after the program was over.