SOUTH SIOUX CITY -- “It’s a great honor to see the two veterans that walked the state of Nebraska,” said Jerry Tjaden, a veteran himself. He was speaking of Daryl Harrison, 66, and Ken Hanel, 74, who completed their hike across the entirety of Highway 20 this Saturday. The journey was meant to celebrate veterans, following the governor’s proclamation of the highway’s title as the Medal of Honor Highway.
At the finale of 423 miles worth of walking, more than 100 attended a ceremony for veterans and medal of honor recipients to celebrate the country May 22 at Siouxland Freedom Park.
The timing was was not without somber tones, as just two days ago recipient Charles Hagemesiter, who would have attended, died. Hagemister was honored at the ceremony, still.
Rev. Dr. William Jackson, the chaplain of the American Legion Nebraska, also attended. He said attendees and veterans like him have a craving for a sense of community. He feels the younger generation is not as patriotic and understanding of their sacrifices. That’s why an event like this is so special to him.
“We didn’t make a lot of money … [laughs] … but we served our country,” he said.
Organizers hope the flag they walked with will now be carried across Iowa, next.