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Leaders honor the fallen at Memorial Park

Posted at 6:17 PM, May 31, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-31 23:13:35-04

OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — It was a morning to remember the 1,280,000 men and women who have died in service to the United States.

Rep. Don Bacon shared stories of when he served, and had to tell families that their son and daughter would not be coming home.

He described one interaction that was especially difficult.

“That mom and dad held each other for 15 minutes, before I could say a word, so today let’s remember our Gold Star families,” said Bacon.

Gov. Pete Ricketts named specific Nebraskans who stepped up and honored the call to serve.

“These are the sacrifices that the men and women make, that we must not forget,” said Ricketts.

Ricketts mentioned Dustin Lukasiewicz, who died in a helicopter crash while rescuing victims of an earthquake in Nepal.

He also mentioned two law enforcement officers, who both served before wearing the badge.

Tpr. Jerry Smith died on duty in western Nebraska two years ago.

Ofc. Mario Herrera passed away days after being shot serving a warrant in Lincoln.

Memorial Day ceremony held at Offutt Air Force Base

“It was a steep price that they paid, that their families paid, and I’m willing to bet that each and every one of them would be willing to pay that price again,” said Ricketts.

Commander of US Strategic Air Command Chas Richard closed the festivities, naming service members who died during the Cold War.

He said we must mourn and celebrate the loss of the great men and women who gave the ultimate sacrifice.

“Today is a day to grieve for those lost. I offer it’s okay to do so, make some time for it. But then celebrate their life, celebrate by remembering, celebrate by honoring," Richard said.

And then quoting General George Patton, “Thank God such men and women lived.”