This morning (Thursday, Sept. 9, 2021) a large crowd gathered at the Broken Bow Courthouse for Broken Bow Public School’s Patriot Day program.

Active military personnel and their family members were invited to walk the Tunnel Walk of Honor as American Flags were held over the sidewalk to the courthouse steps. Participating in the Tunnel Walk of Honor were Kathy Kugler, Teri and Rick Buhlmann and Jim Zlomke.

Member of VFW 3576 raised the flag while the Broken Bow High School Band performed the National Anthem. Additional music was provided by North Park Fourth Grade singing “Heart of America” and a sing-a-long of “God Bless America.”

High school students Ava Williams, Chad Schmidt, Gage Waterhouse and Casie Schmidt recounted the events of Sept. 11, 2001 when four U.S. domestic flights were hijacked and targeted at the World Trade Center in New York City and the Pentagon in Washington, D.C. Ava Williams stated, “2,977 people were killed as a result of these horrific attacks. 2,977 passengers, citizens, military personnel and first responders.”

“These attacks are considered the most deadly terrorist actions in world history,” Chad Schmidt said.

Gage Waterhouse spoke of the responsibility Americans have today, saying “It is our responsibility to remember and to honor those who lost their lives that day. It is also our responsibility to honor those that responded internationally, fighting for our country.”

Casie Schmidt described the heroes of that day as “heroes who comforted others in their last moments. Heroes that helped get others to safety. Heroes who sacrificed their lives for those of other. Heroes who stood up to defined our country abroad.”

As a representative of a military family, Teri Buhlmann spoke of family members who have served or are currently serving including her husband (Marine Corps, Nebraska National Guard) and three sons (Army Reserve, Nebraska National Guard and Marine Corp) and daughter-n-law (Army). She asked people to support the person serving as well as the family. “If you know of someone who has served or is still serving, go up to them and say, ‘Thank you for your service.’ It will mean more to them than you will ever know,” Buhlmann said. She also encouraged people to pay attention to the words of the National Anthem and the Pledge of Allegiance. “Pay attention to the meaning of what you are saying. A lot of men and women have sacrificed their freedom and sometimes their life for you. Show your patriotism and give back to them the only way to can, by being respectful.”

Jim Zlomke read a statement by Kathy Kugler, both representatives of military families. In the statement, Kugler reminded people that 9/11 is not only history. “It is still a current event,” Kugler wrote. “ This attack set us on a path to be involved in the longest war the US has ever been involved in, which was only recently ended after far too long while somehow being rushed far too quickly.” In her words, Kugler encouraged people to thank a service member, veteran, firefighter, police officer, first responder and gold star family member. “Let them know that just like the date 9/11, you will never forget their lifelong sacrifice.” Zlomke has a son in the Air Force, stationed in Little Rock, Ark., and a step-daughter, also in the Air Force, stationed in San Antonio, Texas. Kuglar’s son, Michael Doheny, a former Marine, was killed in Iraq in 2007. Her other son, Rob Kugler, is also a veteran.

In a closing state, Anna Lindstrom encouraged people to look for heroes in their own communities  “Let’s find the people standing up for others, protecting others. Let’s find the people always doing what is right.” Daniel Flint led the crowd in the Pledge of Allegiance to end the program.

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