*Originally posted, 2013*

“I fly the American Flag of the United States, and the Honor and Remember Flag, and I remember. I may shed a tear or two, knowing that war changes lives………..and yes…I remember.”

An interview with Gold Star mother, Kelly Hollopeter.

What does Veterans Day mean to you? How do you celebrate?

Next to Christmas and Easter, Veterans Day is my favorite holiday. It is a day for America to Honor and Remember those who sacrificed for our country. When I grew up, my hometown shut down on Veterans Day. The schools had one big program where all the students were required to go. It was a big day for the Veterans. My dad served in the Navy and was very proud of that. So I grew up learning about patriotism.

I am a proud Gold Star Mother, as well as a proud Army mom. Both of our sons served our country in the US Army. Our oldest son, Josiah, was killed June 14, 2007 while serving in Iraq. I am very proud of him. Our daughter said it best when she said, “Mom he could have died any other way. He died a Hero.”

We Honor and Remember   www.herviewfromhome.com

Our youngest son, Tyler, served in Iraq at the same time as Josiah, and is presently stationed at Ft Bragg, NC. We are very proud of him and in our eyes he is a hero also. Our military deserves all our honor and thanks. They go away as young boys and girls and come home as young men and women. Whether at war or at peace, they carry the scars for the rest of their lives. They are all heroes.

We Honor and Remember   www.herviewfromhome.com

Today, I observe Veterans Day by taking the day off from work and participate in the many programs presented throughout the community. I fly the American Flag of the United States, and the Honor and Remember Flag, and I remember. I may shed a tear or two, knowing that war changes lives………..and yes…I remember.

We Honor and Remember   www.herviewfromhome.com

How are you involved with supporting Veteran’s today?

I am a member of the American Legion Auxiliary Unit 90 in Valentine NE. This organization does many projects throughout the year such as care packages to our active military and packages for Veterans homes. This year we honored the Viet Nam Veterans and the Korean Veterans with parades and suppers. This organization supports the American Legion also in the projects they have. It has been a great way for me to say thanks and shows my support in a small way.

What are some ways people can show support for Veterans?

PRAYER. That really is the strongest support. Thank them when you see them and don’t ever forget their sacrifice. Military is a life changing experience and the sacrifices they make are lasting. Honor and Remember them always. Take time to listen to them. Most carry a world of hurt and sometimes a listening ear is the best support you can give them. It is because of them that we live in freedom.

How can people show support for troops currently in the military?

Again….Prayer. Drop them a card or send them a care package…..let them know you appreciate their sacrifice. They are giving up their Sandhills lifestyle while we continue to enjoy it.

Vets Parade

Is there anything specific you want to mention about Sandhills living or Veterans from the Sandhills?

The Sandhills people are GOOD people. They come to the call of aide whenever needed. We were over whelmed by the support of the Sandhills communities when we brought our son home. And it hasn’t stopped. They let us know they have not forgotten our son Josiah. The Sandhills is a good place to live……it’s a great community. The Veterans that live here are so humble about their service to their country. Humble but appreciative of the support they receive.

Michelle Garwood

Born and raised in the Sandhills, Michelle Garwood attended the University of Nebraska-Lincoln where she earned her Bachelor’s in Family & Consumer Science and Health Education and her Master’s in Youth Development. She spent some time teaching in the public schools and working with curriculum development at the Nebraska State 4-H Office. After ten years in Lincoln, she returned home to the Valentine area with her high school sweetheart, Jeff. They have been busy raising Jenalee (age 6) and Jaeden (age 2) while ranching and helping extended family. Michelle now works from home for Her View from the Sandhills and is an assistant for her pastor at Our Savior Lutheran Church. She enjoys gardening, raising chickens, sewing, reading, hiking, paddling, yoga, “junking” and serving as a leader for the Town & Country 4-H Club.