Veterans saluted and civilians covered their hearts as the Douglas High School Madrigals sang “The Star Spangled Banner at Friday’s USO Celebration.
The Douglas County Senior Center honored veterans in a two-hour show which included songs, poems, speakers and patriotism.
Hung on the walls of the dining room were photographs and short biographies of more than 50 former and current servicemen and women.
“There’s nine of my family members on that wall. We’ve got every branch covered,” said Sheri Karosich, recreation specialist. “It’s extremely near and dear to my heart. Every veteran whether they served a couple of years or a lifetime deserves honor and gratitude for their service.”
Gardnerville resident Dennis Johnson, 67, carried the Navy flag during the presentation of colors.
Johnson served five years in the Navy from 1964-69.
“It meant protecting my country. I had two older brothers who served in the Navy also,” he said. “It’s great that they’re thanking us for our service. It wasn’t shown before, but it’s being shown now more than it ever was I think.”
Nicholas Cane, 82, served in the Army from 1950-52. He presented the Army flag.
“I was in Camp Picket, Va. We trained troops to go over to Korea,” he said. “They got their 13 weeks of training and off to Korea. A lot of my friends didn’t come back.”
Cane was born in Italy in 1931 and moved to the United States when he was 4 years old.
“I appreciate this country so much,” he added. “Whenever somebody says something bad about it, I want to slug them.”
Bob Steward of Indian Hills served five years in the Marine Corps.
“When I was a veteran I was in Vietnam. Veterans Day today says sorry we screwed it (Veterans Day) up 40 years ago,” the 66-year-old said. “Today, we’re appreciated. I don’t speak for everybody, but I bet everybody would say the same.”
Steward served from 1967-71.
“It’s something you were supposed to do, and you did it,” he said of his service. “Integrity is not an option.”
Sheriff Ron Pierini introduced Deputy Rich Rodriguez at Friday’s celebration announcing that the Army reservist is deploying to Afghanistan in February. The sheriff’s office has five deputies who are reservists.
“We lose them for a year,” he said, “but we certainly support the military and efforts overseas.”
Along with Rodriguez, the other deputies who are currently serving are Scott Newton, Seth Russell, Ignacio Gonzales and Clayton Ridley.