Honoring our Heroes: Veterans Shine On


Jared Sindt

Veterans of the American Legion Post 1 in Omaha prepare to fire three shots to honor fallen soldiers. Photo courtesy of Jared Sindt/The Gateway.

Veterans Shine On’s fifth annual event took place Thursday, Nov. 4 at Memorial Park. The event had bright lights, music and notable speakers such as Pete Festersen, Omaha City Councilman for District 1.

“It’s really touching, and that’s why you come and honor these folks and attend these ceremonies, because the sacrifice they’ve made not only themselves, but their families on behalf of our country and behalf of our city and our community are so tremendous and it’s important that we recognize that,” Festersen said.

The event honored fallen veterans with the tolling of a bell and a raising of the reef ceremony for the families. Festersen spoke on how the city plans to continue honoring these veterans outside of the events.

“Probably some street renamings, for James William Fous, who’s a congressional medal of honor winner that was a Central High grad as am I,” Festersen said. “And then also Cpl. Daegan Page, we’re looking for a suitable honoring of him and his life and his service in Afghanistan.”

Lighting display to honor veterans at Memorial Park. Photo courtesy of Jared Sindt/The Gateway.

Festersen gave a speech to pay his respects to fallen soldiers and the veterans still standing at the event.

One of those veterans included Commander of American Legion Post 1 in Omaha, Paul Taylor. He spoke on why events such as Veterans Shine On and Memorial Park are important to him and his squad.

“I just can’t believe that in the last eight years, this area looks like a park, and I really wanna thank the mayor for those kinds of things,” Taylor said. “Veterans deserve this kind of facility.”

Taylor says that in going to these events, he and his squad can’t help but think of the families who’ve lost someone, and they look to help in any way they can.

“Whenever we attend events for fallen soldiers or funerals, the first thing all of us veterans think and ask is, how can we help?” Taylor said.

Taylor claims to have lived down the street from Cpl. Daegan Page, and he knew that the community and other veterans would support his family.

The lights in Memorial Park will continue to shine for the next couple of months to honor the country’s heroes and spread holiday cheer.