A busy Veterans Day weekend capped Monday by North Platte’s annual downtown parade will begin with a speech Friday in Maywood by a nationally recognized Nebraska state trooper from Curtis.
The Monday afternoon dedication of the Maxwell Veterans Memorial also will highlight local observances of the national holiday, which grew from Armistice Day celebrations of the day World War I ended.
North Platte’s ceremonies Monday will begin at 11 a.m. — the time when Allied and German guns went silent in France on Nov. 11, 1918 — at the American Legion Post 163 Hall, 2020 E. Fourth St.
Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 1504 will hold its annual bean feed at noon at its post hall next door at 2100 E. Fourth St. A 2 p.m. ceremony at the 20th Century Veterans Memorial, at Interstate 80 and U.S. Highway 83, will precede the 4 p.m. parade.
State Trooper Sam Mortensen, a graduate of Medicine Valley High School in Curtis, will give the address at Maywood Public Schools’ 22nd annual Veterans Day program at 1 p.m. Friday at the school at 408 Pear St.
Mortensen, himself a veteran, received the Bob Thomasson Officer of the Year award in August from the Motor Vehicle Criminal Interdiction Association for his role in several large drug busts.
He was part of an April 2018 traffic stop near Kearney that discovered and confiscated 118 pounds of fentanyl. That seizure, which represented more than 26 million lethal doses of the opioid, set a U.S. record at the time.
Mortensen, who was personally recognized at an October 2018 White House ceremony, also contributed to substantial seizures that year of cocaine, methamphetamine, marijuana and fraudulent or stolen credit cards, the Nebraska State Patrol has said.
Friday’s program will also feature the Nebraska Honor Guard, singing by the Maywood High School choir and a presentation of a POW-MIA table by past VFW Nebraska State Commander Gary Bush of Ogallala.
Adrienne Johnson, a retired Maywood art teacher, said she and a colleague began their school’s Veterans Day program in 1998 to ensure that students recognized the sacrifices of the U.S. armed forces.
A reception sponsored by the Maywood Lions Club will follow in the school library, she said.
In Maxwell, chilly weather forecast for Monday has moved the 1:30 p.m. dedication for the town’s veterans memorial into the First Baptist Church fellowship hall at 302 S. Pine St.
A red brick wall north of the church, designed to bear memorial plaques and support U.S., Nebraska and POW-MIA flagpoles, forms the base of the memorial.
Maxwell High School students Lenzie Sawayer and Libby Empfield will share speaking duties at the dedication ceremony, said Glenda Feeney, a co-designer of the memorial.
Both are members of the school’s chapter of Family, Career and Community Leaders of America, which raised $2,800 to build the memorial as a club project in 2015 and 2016.
The Maxwell High band will perform “The Star-Spangled Banner,” and student Sylver Moore will play taps, Feeney said.