Events proudly remember veterans past and present

Monday, November 12, 2012
Cape Girardeau Joint Veterans Council’s annual Veterans Day ceremony took place Sunday at Freedom Corner in Capaha Park. (ADAM VOGLER)

Veterans and local residents gathered Sunday to celebrate Veterans Day at several events, including the Freedom Corner ceremony and Trail of Tears bar opening.

The annual Veterans Day ceremony at Freedom Corner in Capaha Park remembered those men and women who are serving -- and those who have served. Cmdr. Richard Kinsey of the U.S. Naval Reserve in Memphis, Tenn., spoke at the ceremony about the history of Veterans Day and its importance. The VFW Ladies Auxiliary laid a commemorative wreath at the monument, and after the sanction the Cpl. Mason O. Yarbrough Marine Corps League Detachment 1081 performed a rifle salute that was followed by the playing of "Taps."

Steve Seyller, commandant of the local Marine Corps League, said the ceremony honors all veterans.

"As generations go on, you don't want people to forget about our veterans, and the activities that they do every day, and our freedoms we have are guaranteed by that," Seyller said. "You look at all of the other countries, and a lot of them don't have our liberties. It's important to remember that our servicemen are putting their lives on the line to ensure our freedom."

Kinsey said this was the first year he had attended the ceremony, and believes it's important to remember the people who have served and are serving to recognize their sacrifices.

Marien Corps League member Bob Francis plays "Taps," during the Cape Girardeau Joint Veterans Council's annual Veterans Day Ceremony Sunday, November 11, at Freedom Corner in Capaha Park in Cape Girardeau. (ADAM VOGLER)

"We live in a world now where our country does not require a draft so all of the people who are serving are doing it on their own free will," Kinsey said. "So, it's really important that we remember those people."

Trail of Tears, 519 Good Hope St., had its grand-opening ceremony and ribbon cutting. Father Jim Seyer said a dedication prayer. Rodger Brown, commander of U.S.A. Veterans, read the "Toast to the Vet Who Isn't Here," as everyone in attendance read along and toasted veterans. That moment was followed by "Taps" and the ribbon cutting.

According to Brown, Trail of Tears is organized by the not-for-profit group, U.S.A. Veterans, which is the sole sponsor of the annual Fourth of July celebration and fireworks at Arena Park.

"It costs about $50,000 to put the Fourth of July event together. This will create a revenue stream to help us accomplish that," Brown said.

He said the bar and grill will help U.S.A. Veterans build a veterans rehab center for amputees.

"We want to create a place where their families can live and get accustomed to living with someone who lost a limb," Brown said. "It allows the family -- the children, particularly -- to become familiar with the things that will be needed in this person's life. I realize it's a lofty goal, but someone needs to do this because nobody is doing it now."

Events today include the annual Veterans Day parade in Jackson. Starting at 4 p.m., the parade is hosted by Jackson's American Legion Post 158 and VFW Post 10495.

Schools also will participate in Veterans Day gatherings. At 9 a.m. today, the Jackson High School choir will present a program honoring veterans. Kelly High School in Benton, Mo., will host its Thank-A-Veteran assembly from 10 to 11 a.m. today.

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