Veterans will be honored in many ways Wednesday, including the annual Veterans Day ceremony hosted this year by VFW Post 2561 on the steps of the Pettis County Courthouse.
Paul Bennett, secretary for American Legion Post 642 and emcee for the event, said people often confuse Veterans Day with Memorial Day.
“We are asking that all veterans wear their medals and ribbons proudly,” he said. “A lot of people kind of relate the Veterans Day ceremony with Memorial Day ceremony. That’s very much of a misnomer.
“Memorial Day we celebrate those that have gone before us,” he added. “Veterans Day, a lot of people don’t realize this, is a celebration of the veterans that are here today, that survived the war and (other) conflicts. It’s really supposed to be a happy time for veterans. Although we lay the wreaths in remembrance, we still celebrate those who are here today.”
Bennett said each year the Sedalia American Legion, VFW and Voiture 333, 40 & 8 alternate on organizing the event. The event this year is being overseen by VFW post 2591.
“Larry Reven, commander of the VFW, is in charge of it,” Bennett said. “The (Smith-Cotton High School) JROTC is heavily involved again this year. We started a program a few years ago where we were doing it more like Arlington Cemetery. A cadet will be at the memorial with the wreath. Then those that are called upon to present the wreath will walk over, and the cadet will hand them the wreath and help them lay the wreath.”
The SCHS choir will sing patriotic songs from 10:45 to 11 a.m. and during the wreath-laying ceremony. In past years there was silence during the wreath-laying ceremony; this year Bennett asked SCHS vocal music teacher Anna Wooderson if the choir could sing hymns or patriotic songs during the ceremony.
“Which will add a little bit more to the program,” he added.
The ceremony will begin at 11 a.m. with the Pledge of Allegiance presented by Sedalia Mayor Stephen Galliher. The invocation will be given by American Legion State Chaplin Dr. Nicholas Gray, the National Anthem will be sung by Roy Bemiss, of Sedalia, and guest speaker this year will be Lt. Col. Harry Cunningham, senior instructor at SCHS JROTC.
“The program will run as it normally does,” Bennett said. “There’s no real changes.”
After Cunningham speaks, the wreath-laying ceremony will hosted honoring veterans from World War I and II, Korea, Vietnam, Iraq/Afghanistan, all other conflicts and the war dogs memorial.
After the event. the VFW will host a free soup and chili supper at the post, 121 S. Ohio Ave.
At 3:30 p.m. there will be a Veterans Day parade beginning at East Sixth Street and South Massachusetts Avenue. The parade will move down Massachusetts to South Ohio Avenue, proceed north on Ohio to Main Street, then east to Massachusetts.
“Sgt. Maj. (Randy) Woods (JROTC) is in charge of that,” Bennett said. “He has sent out parade positions to everybody and he has asked that everybody be there, in their slots, no later than 2:45.
“If there are veterans who want to be in the parade, and cannot walk, there are two buses that will be available,” he added. “So they can ride in the parade.”
All veterans are welcome to walk or ride in the parade.
“The American Legion Color Guard, which Missouri State Champion and National Champion will present the colors, and they will lead the parade of course,” Bennett said.
Faith Bemiss can be reached at 530-0289 or @flbemiss.