For Melanie Flanagan, Veterans Day is an extra special time. The United States Air Force veteran started basic training on Nov. 10, 2001, right after graduating high school. So not only does she view Veterans Day as a day of reflection, but she also reminisces on her first days of military service.
In honor of her service, Flanagan, who started working as the senior administrative assistant for academic affairs at Newman this past September, is featured on a Kansas Honor Banner.
Honoring the dedication of veterans
Kansas Honor Banners publicly recognize the sacrifices service members have made for the country. They’re displayed around the Wichita area from Sept. 11 to Nov. 11 and feature photos of veterans and active-duty service members, as well as their name, military branch, rank and years of service.
Flanagan’s banner is on display in the Delano district in downtown Wichita and was even shown in an NBC Nightly News clip.
Kansas Honor Banners are either purchased by loved ones or sponsored. One day, Flanagan was speaking with the man in charge of the project about her military service. He told her that his daughter was in the Air Force as well and that he didn’t feel like women veterans are recognized enough. So, he asked if she’d be open to having her banner sponsored, to which she agreed.
“It’s amazing,” Flanagan said. “I’m so honored to be amongst all the wonderful veterans.”
Serving her country
Flanagan left the Air Force in August 2011 after serving for a decade as a logistics planner. She initially entered the military in part because her father was retired Air Force. She also needed time to determine her next move.
“I knew that I was not ready for college at the time, and with it already being familiar to me, it seemed like something that I knew that I could do,” Flanagan said. “I really enjoyed my time.”
She added, “I feel that I not only served my country, but I also learned a lot. I matured a lot while serving.”
Now in her role at Newman, Flanagan feels at home.
“It’s been wonderful. Everybody has been really welcoming, friendly and helpful.”
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