Plans are underway for the 2016 Johnson County Veterans Day observance, recognizing local veterans from all wars, including a groundbreaking ceremony for a monument honoring local Gold Star families of fallen soldiers.
The Veterans Day event will take place on Friday, Nov. 11, at Olathe’s Veterans Memorial Park at Harrison St. and Dennis Ave. Activities will begin at 11 a.m. saluting veterans from World War II, Korean War, Vietnam War, Desert Storm, Iraq and Afghanistan. The celebration marks Johnson County’s 30th anniversary of sponsoring an annual Veterans Day observance.
The observance traditionally starts on the 11th hour of the 11th day in the 11th month. That means 11 a.m. on Friday, Nov. 11, at Veterans Memorial Park.
Featured speaker for the program will be Colonel Peter Jaramillo, state chaplain for the Kansas Army National Guard and a Catholic priest. He has lost soldiers in his unit while deployed and plans to talk about the sacrifices a family makes and the grief that they go through on losing a loved one. Ed Eilert, chairman of the Johnson County Board of County Commissioners, will emcee the ceremony.
Debbie Austin, president of the Gold Star Mothers Chapter, will also speak. Her son, Army Private First Class Shane Austin, of Edgerton, was killed in action in 2006 while serving in Operation Iraqi Freedom.
Gold Star families and members of the Northeast Kansas Gold Star Mothers Chapter have been invited as special guests. A Gold Star family is one with an immediate relative who was killed during active duty in the U.S. armed forces.
The 2016 program will feature: patriotic music by the Olathe Northwest High School band; special songs by the Central Elementary School choir in Olathe and Southside Singers from Olathe South High School; presentation of colors; placement of memorial wreaths by local veteran organizations; playing of “Echo Taps” and bagpipe music; and rifle salute.