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CONESTOGA – Veterans Day may officially come one day a year, but as one veteran said on Friday, people should thank veterans each and every day.

“You have a good life because of veterans,” said Dawn Jonas. “We don’t know them all, but we owe them all. Thank a vet.”

Jonas, a Crete police officer assigned as a school resource officer there, was the featured speaker at Friday’s Veterans Day program, sponsored by Conestoga schools and held at its junior/senior high school.

Jonas went into the U.S. Marine Corps right after high school and told the students of life lessons she learned from her service.

This included the importance of teamwork.

“You have to know how to be part of a team,” Jonas said. “You go further together than being alone.”

To listen is another trait that Marines learn.

“You do a lot of listening in the Marines,” she said.

In fact, people should use that trait when they visit with veterans, she added.

“Listen to their stories and learn from what they have to say and appreciate what they did and the sacrifices they made.”

The public should make an extra effort to honor veterans during the holiday season by paying their meals or give Christmas stocking stuffers with items they need, she added.

About half of this country’s veterans are 65 years old and over, Jonas reminded the audience.

“Let them know you’re there in case they need something. They have done more in a short time than most of us will do in our lifetime.”

This annual celebration of veterans at the school featured the playing of the Star Spangled Banner by the school band, plus songs by the fourth through sixth grade choir.

A moving tribute came when the song of each of the military branches was played with the veterans standing when their particular service branch was honored.

Brothers Justin Pick and Jaemes Plowman, seniors at the school, spoke on why they’re joining the military.

“I want to protect this beautiful nation,” Jaemes said.

Justin said to serve your country is the boldest and greatest thing a person can do.

The folding of the American Flag and the audience singing America the Beautiful was also a part of the ceremony.

Taps, played by Cassidy Hartig, concluded the program.

“It was great,” said Murray resident Paulette Henderson, whose three brothers served in the military.

“It was so emotional, very heartfelt,” said Beth Plowman.

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