In early October, a meeting began with Operation Bugle Boy 2013 advisory board member Chris Jarboe going around a table and introducing attendees at a meeting he called historic. What began 12 years ago as a post-9/11 patriotic service project by Jefferson City and Helias high school students had grown into those two schools, along with Blair Oaks and Calvary Lutheran high schools, coming together to continue the tradition of patriotic service projects that honor United States military veterans.
This year, Operation Bugle Boy 2013 features an evening full of events such as a memorabilia display, a Wall of Honor, Letters to Heroes, the Patriot Tree and more. Only veterans and their guests can attend the banquet and listen to the evening’s keynote speaker, David L. Beamer. Beamer’s son Todd Beamer was a passenger on United Flight 93 on 9/11 and is remembered as an American hero for his sacrifice in the defense of our country and for his now immortalized phrase, “Let’s roll.”
“I’m coming for two groups,” Beamer says, “the military and the youth. I’m not a veteran, but I’m certainly a beneficiary of their service.”
“It’s an opportunity to thank the military for all they have done — and do — and the sacrifices they’ve made,” he adds about his attendance at the dinner and program, “and to encourage the young people about how they can make a difference in their lives and the world.”
For community members who cannot attend the dinner and program on Nov. 7, Beamer and the honored guests will also be part of OBB’s free event on Nov. 8, Flight 93 and the American Spirit at Concord Baptist Church.
Not only is OBB 2013 an opportunity to salute veterans, but it’s also a cultural event that teaches the kids involved about honor and service. They interact with the veterans and hear firsthand what standing up for something a person believes in can entail, as well as what their support means to veterans.
Helias teacher and coach Dan Campbell sat in that October OBB meeting and told the teens in attendance: “I know how it feels to be deployed, to be away from home during the holidays and to get a package. It matters.”
As part of Operation Bugle Boy 2013, a limited number of 10th anniversary Operation Merry Christmas CDs will be for sale. Operation Merry Christmas was a holiday and patriotic music CD performed by Jefferson City High School students, intermixed with veterans discussing what it was like to be stationed far from home for the holidays. The original service project sent CDs to 1,500 military members stationed all over the world, and the proceeds from sales of the remaining CDs were donated to the American Red Cross and the United Services Organization. This year, proceeds from anniversary CD sales will be divided between the Central Missouri Honor Flight and the Jefferson City Veterans Council.
“I’ve had the luxury to work with students like this,” Jarboe says about the dedicated student representatives attending the historic meeting he was leading. “But this is not about us; it’s all about the veterans.”