Grand Island, Neb.- All days of the Nebraska State Fair are special in their own right, with some designated even more so. Monday was one such day, and it made for a little more patriotic pride and red, white and blue throughout the crowd.
The combination of Labor Day and the final day of the state fair are big draws for this day 11 in Grand Island. But among those in attendance today are special guests as this day is designated veterans day at the State Fair.
It's an annual tribute from the fair board, according to Executive Director Joe McDermott.
"Veterans Day is critical," said McDermott. "We owe a lot to the veterans that went and fought in the wars to protect our freedom. We have a responsibility i think to honor them."
The reasons to attend are many for the veterans, but they enjoy the designation just the same.
"A lot of people like you, they just come up and shake your hand and say thanks," said Dean Nelson of Overton, an Army veteran who served from 1962-1964. "It's wonderful that we do it that way."
So beyond the tangible benefit of free admission to the fair, and the added pleasure of people that recognize them from their hats and t-shirts coming up and visiting with them, this is also a reunion day by having veterans day at the fair.
"It's a way of touching base with people," said Vietnam veteran Bob Borgheiinck of Grand Island. "That's a main reason that we wear the pins and stuff is people recognize them and they'll walk up to you because they have some relation to that patch or button or something."
Veterans were honored at a special ceremony in the Heartland Event Center, as well as being special participants in the day's parade across the grounds.