Lake Mills Middle School came together Monday to honor local veterans.

Featured speaker Patrick Linnihan, a West Point graduate, served in the Army from 1990-97. He continues his work with veterans of the military by supporting Milwaukee’s Fischer House, which provides housing for family who’s loved one is in the Milwaukee Veterans Hospital.

Linnihan said his time in the military were some of the best years of his life.

“When people say thank you for your service, I think to myself, ‘no thank you for my service,’” he said. “It was an honor to serve as a member of the United States Armed Forces.”

There are about 18.2 million veterans in the United States, according to the most recent US Census.

“Why are we celebrating this day” Linnihan asked middle schoolers. “How do you celebrate a veteran?”

He brought up the coupon books children make for their mother’s on Mother’s Day.

“These people wrote a coupon to all the people in the United States,” he said. “The coupon said, ‘I will give you my service…up to and including my life.’ That’s what this group of people signed up for and that’s why I’m honored to honor them today with you.”

Veterans allow the United States to protect itself.

“That’s why it’s important to celebrate veterans.”

Linnihan pepped up the room with a chant, students chanted, “Veterans, rock.”

“Thank you,” he said to the veterans. “If no one has told you lately, it was an honor serving with you and it’s a privilege for me to call you brothers and sisters in arms.”

Mary Mess, a special education para educator at the middle school and a member of Quilters on the Rock, presented a veteran with a Quilt of Valor at the ceremony.

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