MILWAUKEE (WITI) -- Wisconsin Lutheran High School hosted a special ceremony for Veterans Day. It's become something of a tradition for the school.
Close to 400 veterans entered the gym for the ceremony, with the crowd on their feet.
Gratitude filled the air. Members of all branches of the military were there, about a dozen even served in World War II. This day is about thanking all of them, and those who made the ultimate sacrifice for their country.
"Whatever the reason, we are always ready to answer the nation`s call," said Col. Johnny Davis.
Colonel Davis is the keynote speaker. He is also a Purple Heart recipient who fought in three wars, and is an alumnus of the school. He is now the commander of the 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment, otherwise known as the Old Guard.
His main message: giving thanks for selfless service.
Colonel Davis was injured in Afghanistan when his vehicle was hit by an IED His sergeant saved his life.
"He immediately took his vehicle and the five man crew, and he placed it in the line of fire, and he was hit four times," said Col. Davis.
The moment that followed his speech brought some to tears. Some of the veterans at the ceremony have family serving, and are emotional thinking of them too.
"My son is serving right now, I get a little misty thinking about what he is doing, but I am very proud of him," said Michael Sader, who was in the Air Force from 1972 to 1980.
Mayor Tom Barrett gave a short speech, as did some of the students who helped organize the day. They emphasized honor, courage and duty. All values the heroes in attendance share, as they remember those who can't stand by their side.
"I`m a veteran yes-- but I didn`t give the ultimate, and that`s what this is all about," said Sader.
This is the 21st year Wisconsin Lutheran High School has hosted Veterans Day events. Many of the students help organize them.