UP honors nation’s military veterans with Omaha event

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UP's Lance Fritz speaks at Friday's event at the Durham Museum in Omaha.
Two photos, Sol Tucker
OMAHA, Neb. – Union Pacific continued its tour of commemorative locomotive No. 1943 with a special celebration at the Durham Museum in Omaha Friday. The event recognized UP employees serving in the military, as well as special guests that included U.S. Air Force Staff Sergeant Anthony Elia, 55th Communications Squadron, and Staff Sergeant Chelsie Elia, 55th Wing Staff Agency, from Offutt Air Force Base, and their daughter. Anthony Elia recently returned to the U.S. from duty at Al Udied Air Base in Qatar.

Inside the museum after the arrival of No. 1943 and its train, guests from various branches of the military were treated to a flag presentation to railroad as well as comments about the UPVETS, a railroad employee resource group dedicated to veterans. Guests in attendance had four hours to examine the locomotive up close, as it remained parked outside of the museum before its departure to Cheyenne, the final stop on the tour. This was the only date on the tour where a full dedication ceremony has taken place, which included the recognition for the celebration of Veterans Day on Nov. 11.

The ceremony included remarks from Union Pacific Chairman Lance Fritz, U.S. Rep. Don Bacon, and U.S. Senator Deb Fischer, followed by a flag folding ceremony by the Offutt Air Force Base Honor Guard.

Both the congressional delegates commented on how important the UP program is and they were both huge fans of the locomotive's appearance. Fritz commented on how much it meant to the UP and the attendees that Sen. Fischer would fly in for the day for the event. She has been a big supporter to the UP in Nebraska, along with Bacon.

No. 1943 is only the 16th commemorative locomotive presented in Union Pacific’s 155-year history. The locomotive is on a multi-city tour that spotlights the railroad’s relationship with thousands of military veterans who helped build America after defending the U.S. – a tradition dating back to the company’s founding by President Abraham Lincoln. Today, about 17 percent of Union Pacific’s employees have military experience, with some actively serving in the National Guard or Reserves.
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SD70ACe No. 1943 arrives at the Durham Museum, the former UP passenger station in Omaha, with its train.

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