State veterans official to speak at Memorial Day services

Friday, May 19, 2023
John Hilgert

McCOOK, Neb. — The McCook American Legion Chris Hanson Post 203 will conduct the 2023 Memorial Day service on Monday May 29 starting at 10:30 a.m.

The ceremony will take place at the Veteran’s Memorial Monument in the north section of Memorial Park Cemetery in McCook.

“We invite all members of the community to join us as we honor and salute our fellow Americans who paid the ultimate price for our freedom,” said Dan Stramel, commander.

While June 21 this year marks the first day of summer, Memorial Day has long been the holiday more eagerly associated with the start of the season. Memorial Day is the time to recount the sacrifice of all America’s warriors, honor the memory of America’s fighting men and women who died defending our nation and honor our family heritage.

The observance usually includes the decoration of veterans’ and family graves, and in fact, was originally known as “Decoration Day”. The public is encouraged to attend this brief yet honorable Memorial Day service.

The American Legion Chris Hanson Post 203 is very excited to announce that the featured speaker this year will be John Hilgert the Director of the Nebraska Department of Veterans Affairs.

Since leaving the State Legislature in 2001 as the State Senator serving downtown and south Omaha, John Hilgert has served as the Director of the Nebraska Department of Veterans Affairs, having been appointed by Gov. Mike Johanns. Gov. Dave Heineman retained Hilgert as director and assigned him additional duties as a Division Director of the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services with direct oversight of the Veterans Homes Division.

He continued to serve the state in both capacities, having been retained by Gov. Pete Ricketts in 2015.

In 2017, the Veterans’ Homes Division was merged into the Nebraska Department of Veterans Affairs. John was again retained by Gov. Jim Pillen in 2023.

John is an Army veteran of the Gulf War, having served with the First Infantry Division.

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