Some stood on Freedom Corner saluting the American flag as taps played in the background and noisy cars drove by on the busy street.
Some sat at the Veterans Home listening to Sen. Jean Carnahan tell how America has changed over the past two months.
And some lined a street in Jackson watching a parade full of Boy Scouts, bands and VFW posts march by.
A few hundred people gathered in different places throughout Cape Girardeau County Sunday to celebrate Veterans Day.
As parade marshal Herb Brase of Jackson made his way down South High Street in Jackson, 4-year-old Amelia Popp, dressed in red, white and blue and standing on the curb outside the First Baptist Church, waved a small American flag.
Although Popp is too young to understand what Brase went through when his B-17 bomber was shot down over Germany or when he became a prisoner of war, she does know the meaning of her flag.
"Love and peace," she said.
Popp comes from a family of veterans. Her mother, Teresa, and father, Steve, both served in the Air Force in the early 1980s. Her uncle, David Popp, is currently a chief master sergeant for the Air Force, stationed in Italy.
Teresa Popp said this year's crowd seemed a little larger than last year's, which she expected because of the war on terrorism.
"It's so hard to show support as an individual," she said. "But it's important to show respect. It makes those serving feel good to hear people back home are supportive."
A memorial service was held at Cox Hall in Jackson for veterans and their families following the parade.
After the First Baptist Church choir sang a medley of the anthems of each branch of the military, Sam Roethemeyer, pastor at Emanuel United Church of Christ, told the veterans, "You are the strength of the nation."
In Cape Girardeau, men and women at the Veterans Home listened as Sen. Carnahan praised their efforts as young soldiers and nurses fighting for a country they loved more than life itself.
"You answered your country's call," she said. "We look to you in our time of national need because you have never let us down. From the ashes of terror we will build a new tower that will cast its light around the world."
Across town, a small group of veterans and their families gathered at the corner of Broadway and West End Boulevard for a short ceremony.
As the colors were presented Richard Kump of Cape Girardeau stood at attention, his eyes focused on the blowing flags.
Kump, 76, said Nov. 11 is a day when he looks back and remembers the times he spent during WWII in a Navy submarine rescue vessel and the friends with whom he served. This year, he said, it's also a time to think of those serving in Afghanistan.
"It's hard to imagine what they're going through," he said. "It's such a different war."
335-6611, extension 128