On Veterans Day this Wednesday, numerous ceremonies to honor the men and women who have fought and served America’s citizens will be held.
It will be a time to reflect on experiences, honor those who have passed and those who are still living.
Recently, a group of veterans was given the opportunity to share their experiences both as service members and as members of the 19th Show Me Honor Flight.
The event was hosted Nov. 3 at the Best Western State Fair Motor Inn.
More than 170 veterans, their families and honored guests attended the reception.
“This is an opportunity for all of us to say thank you to those who went on the trip and for those who have made the 19 honor flights possible, “Vice President of the Show Me Honor Flight Committee,” Jim Gaertner said. “Not only are we here to recognize the veterans who have served out country, but we also want to thank the people who have been there since the beginning in 2008 who have been such a large part of all of this.”
Twenty-four businesses, service organizations and individuals were recognized at the event.
One of the organizations honored was the Sedalia Fire Department.
“I have to say that other than my marriage and the birth of my child, being a part of the escort back was one of the proudest moments of my life,” Wayne Cummins of the fire department said when we accepted the award with Battalion Chief, Paul Withers. “We owe you our gratitude for your service to our country.”
Thirty-nine veterans from World War II, Korea and Vietnam, 16 escorts, and medical personal were part of the most recent flight on Oct. 28.
“I have to say it was the second to the worst weather we have ever had on a trip,” Show Me Honor Flight President, Pam Burligame said. “But I never heard a single complaint from anyone on the flight.
“They truly had a great day,” she added. “Many of these men and women have never had the opportunity to go to Washington D.C. and see the memorials or go to Arlington; it has meaning for them.”
The one-day trip provided the veterans with the opportunity to see sites including the World War II Memorial, Korean, Vietnam and Lincoln Memorials and memorials for the service branches.
The also traveled to the White House, Pentagon, and the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier where those in attendance watched the Changing of the Guard.
While the physical trip is important, Burligame senses that the emotional journey has a greater significance.
“Some of the veterans from Vietnam have thanked us and told us how important the flights are in their healing,” Burligame said. “One of them said to me that they felt a 40-year burden had been lifted from their shoulders.”
Another tribute to those who served is the brick Walk of Honor on the Pettis County Courthouse grounds.
The most recently purchased bricks have been installed, and Burligame hopes that those in attendance will look to find the names of their friends and family.
“The newest bricks at the courthouse were placed last week,” Burligame said. “We hope that anyone who goes to the events at the courthouse will take the time to look for the names of their friend and family.
“We still have bricks available and individuals can get applications for them at Midland Printing,” she added. “The money we raise from the sale of the bricks helps with the cost of the Honor Flights, but more than that is a lasting tribute to those who have served.”
Hope Lecchi can be reached at 660-826-1000 ext. 1484