By Jan Schultz
The Imperial Republican
David Kahle of Imperial, a veteran who fought in the Gulf War, told students at Chase County Schools the No. 1 way they can support the country’s veterans is simple.
“Just say thanks for what they’ve done,” he said.
It’s a simple thing, he told the grade 7-12 students attending last Thursday’s annual Veterans Day program at CCS.
“I’ve got a few awards and honors,” he noted, but it’s the simple thank-yous that have meant the most. Letters from home were highly valued, as well.
Kahle was the featured speaker at the program sponsored by the school’s FBLA chapter.
It drew a full auditorium at CCS.
FBLA members recognized local veterans attending, introducing each one and mentioning the wars/conflicts in which they served. Patriotic music from the CCS band and choir and a slide show were also featured.
Kahle, who grew up in Kearney on a farm, said his plans as a young person did not include service in the military.
“I thought I’d grow up to be a farmer. I never thought I’d be a soldier,” he said.
His decision to serve came in the 1980s during the farm crisis, which forced the sale of the Kahle family farm. An Army recruiter showed up at their door one day, and the rest is history.
Further education was not of interest to him, so the Army recruiter’s sales pitch of becoming a Calvary Scout was quite attractive to Kahle.
He was soon in basic training in Fort Knox, Ky., with his first assignment sending him to border patrol in Germany. He was there when the Berlin Wall came down.
In the summer, 1990, his unit was called to serve in Desert Shield, then Desert Storm, where he was a gunner on the Army’s Bradley Fighting Vehicle. He was stationed in the desert when the U.S. air war on Iraq began Jan. 17, 1991.
In one of the slides showing former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein, Kahle asked, “Do you know how to tell a dictator?
“It’s someone who tells you what to do, when to do it and what you are to be,” he said.
That was the epitome of Hussein, he said.
It didn’t take Kahle long to realize the U.S. effort there was worth it.
He believes when you are a super power with all of the freedoms the U.S. enjoys, and you know freedom is a desire of everyone’s, “we have a responsibility.”
It didn’t take him long either, he said, to know they were on the right side. All it took was talking to the Iraqi people.
“They didn’t want to be forced to do things. They wanted to be free,” he said.
Kahle encouraged the students to cherish their freedoms, and not to forget to tell our veterans “thanks.”
Kahle served another military stint from 1996-2000 as an Army Corps nurse. He has served as pastor of Imperial Zion Lutheran Church since 2005.
As part of the Veterans Day program, members of the VFW Color Guard advanced and retired the Colors, and FBLA member Mason Holmes reported on the U.S. wars/conflicts and the numbers involved. Alex Strand and Anna Bauerle performed “Taps” on trumpet, and the group spent a moment in silence.
The FBLA also hosted a separate program later in the school day for the K-6 students.
Any veterans and spouses attending were invited to eat lunch at the school in between the programs. Thirty additional lunches were served that day.