St. Edward

Neal Kemper receives Honor Quilt in Lincoln Veterans Day ceremony

HONOR QUILT — Neal Kemper of St. Edward was one of seven Vietnam veterans receiving Honor Quilts at the Veterans Day celebration in Lincoln on Sunday, Nov. 12.

Seven of Nebraska’s Vietnam veterans received special honors during a Veterans Day ceremony at Auld Pavilion and Recreation Center in Lincoln on Sunday, Nov. 11.
Among those honored was Neal Kemper of St. Edward, who served as a “River Rat,” a Third Class Gunner’s Mate with the River Boat Patrol on the Mekong River in Vietnam in 1968-69.
Kemper was one of the veterans receiving handmade Honor Quilts during the ceremony from quilter Lynn DeShonn.
Kemper said he was very honored to be among the quilt recipients. In an interview with 10/11 News after the ceremony, he provided this recollection: “I’m just glad, I’m proud that I got to service this nation. A lot of sacrifices, a lot of our friends didn’t come home. It was something that you think about almost daily.”
According to an inscription by DeShonn on each quilt presented:
“This quilt serves two purposes: 1) To recognize and thank you for your service. 2) In memory of my father who served in WWII.
The majority of the U.S. citizens were, and still are, very proud of our Vietnam veterans. We were part of the silent majority, every day people who would never think to draw attention to ourselves. We did you a great disservice by not taking a stand to publicly say ‘Thank You’ when you returned home.
I want to express my gratitude for the sacrifices that you made. Even after all these years, we can never right the wrong and the disservice you endured. You need to know we have always cared, been proud of, and appreciated the sacrifices our Vietnam veterans made. We will never forget. We can never say ‘Thank You’ enough.
To all the Vietnam veterans who served, YOU are our HEROES and you will always have a place in our hearts.”
In addition to honoring the Vietnam veterans, the ceremony was an observance of the 100th anniversary of Armistice Day, which marked the end of World War I. Many veterans and their families were on hand for the observance.
Special guest speaker was Dr. Thomas Berg, lecturer with the University of Nebraska-Lincoln Department of History.