Mike Neden served in the U.S. Air Force from 1971 to 1975 and completed two tours in Thailand. After passing away last July, his family started celebrating Veterans Day at Pitt State’s Veterans Memorial Amphitheater.
“I just have always loved this facility here that they created to honor veterans because I think veterans have given so much to our country and we would not have our freedoms that we have if not for their sacrifice and their service,” said Karren Neden, Mike’s wife.
More than 150 area residents came out to honor local military veterans for all the sacrifices they’ve made for our country. It featured several keynote speakers including PSU President Steve Scott, a presentation by St. Mary’s elementary chorus and a special thanks to those who have lost their lives in the line of battle.
“Certainly today, we praise and think about those who did lose their lives. And, we think about them and we think about what a difference they’ve made for all of us,” explained PSU President Steve Scott.
In addition to recognizing all veterans in attendance and those who have lost their lives, 20 families of veterans were also honored.
“You do sort of put your life on hold during those years, but it was a honor and a privilege. We were both very proud that he served and I got to be a part of his life during that time too,” Karen Neden explained.
After serving in the military, Neden worked as a technology education professor at Pittsburg State University for 17 years.
“That’s what makes it so special for us here because he was such a major part of this university, and really seeing to the kids. He saw the best in kids and really tried to find their strengths,” said Ryan Neden, Mike’s son.
The event was held at PSU’s Veterans Memorial Amphitheater where 3,000 soldiers names are listed.