Two area high schools will welcome veterans to enjoy military music, a four-plane flyover and the thanks of grateful communities Friday evening.
They’ll also get to watch a football game for free.
The two events — BHS for Vets and the first-ever EHS for Vets — are set for 7 p.m. at the two respective sites: Baldwin High School and Eudora High School.
At the schools, veterans will gain free admission to the games — Baldwin against Santa Fe Trail, and Eudora against Ottawa — as a special “thank you” for their dedicated service, either in the past or continuing through the present day. Four planes will fly over the fields before the game: about 6:20 p.m. or 6:25 p.m. at Eudora, then about 6:35 p.m. at Baldwin. School bands will play military music at halftime, with veterans on the field and other special events on the schedule.
“Our veterans have enabled us to live in freedom. It’s very, very important to honor them for their service and all they’re willing to do for us,” said Colin Thomas, a senior at Baldwin and a lead organizer for the events. “And it’s not only appreciated by our veterans. It gives high school students a way to reach out and honor our servicemen and women.”
Veterans are asked to wear a hat, shirt or jacket representing their respective branches of service, and to check in with participating students as they approach entry gates at either high school.
Baldwin High will have a special seating section reserved for veterans. About 50 attended the first BHS for Vets event, in 2008. This time organizers expect up to 100.
Eudora High’s event is a first, and organizers are hoping that veterans from Lawrence and others areas consider taking the time to attend their game.
“Whether it’s an 85-year-old grandpa who’s a veteran of a foreign war or another member who’s on active duty now, this is an opportunity for the faculty and the students to recognize those folks and let them know we appreciate the things they do,” said Cara Kimberlin, activities director at Eudora High.