December 18, 2014

County will honor veterans at annual ceremony

Johnson County’s 2012 Veterans Day Observance, featuring patriotic music and songs, speeches, memorial wreaths, rifle salute, and scores of flags, is scheduled Monday, Nov. 12, at Olathe’s Veterans Memorial Park, located at the corner of Dennis Avenue and Harrison Street.
The ceremony, sponsored by Johnson County Government in partnership with the city of Olathe and local veteran organizations, salutes all veterans, past and present. The program starts at 11 a.m.
The public event will honor veterans of the Vietnam War Era and pay special tribute to Army Pfc. Cale Miller, Olathe, and Army Sgt. Michael Knapp, Overland Park, who were killed in May in Afghanistan, and their families.
Speakers include:
• Lieutenant Colonel Matthew Bedwell, commander of the 169th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion in Olathe, a veteran of Iraq and Afghanistan, and recipient of two Bronze Star medals;
• Debbie Collins, Overland Park, mother of Pfc. Miller, 23, a graduate of Olathe Northwest High School, who was killed May 24 in Maiwand, Afghanistan;
• A family member of Sgt. Knapp, 28, a graduate of Shawnee Mission North High School, who was killed May 18 in Asadabad, Afghanistan; and,
• Congressman Kevin Yoder, R-Third District, who will dedicate a memorial bench at Veterans Memorial Park in honor of Pfc. Miller.
Ed Eilert, chairman of the Johnson County Board of Commissioners, will emcee the program.
The program will feature the flying of a large American flag, weather permitting, from the booms of two Olathe fire trucks and display of scores of American flags around the memorial park.
Patriotic music and songs will be provided by the Olathe Northwest High School Band, student choir from Central Elementary School in Olathe, and the Kansas City Bettys.
Special participants will include the American Legion Riders and students from the Kansas School for the Deaf.
The program features:
• Presentation of colors by the Johnson County Sheriff’s Color Guard and colors of support by local veteran or-ganizations;
• Placement of memorial wreaths by veteran organizations;
• Playing of “Taps,” bagpipe music, and traditional rifle salute; and,
• Exhibit of veteran memorabilia from the Gardner Historical Museum.
The offices of Johnson County Government and Olathe City Hall will be closed Monday, Nov. 12, in ob-servance of Veterans Day.

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