US Veterans, both living & deceased, were honored with a solemn ceremony held on Thursday on the front lawn of the Pettis County Courthouse, on a sunny day with blue skies and temperatures around 55.

The 11 a.m. ceremony was organized by VFW Post 2591 and emceed by Senior Vice Commander Kyle Edwards.

Members of Smith-Cotton JROTC presented the Colors and also raised and lowered the US flag in front of the courthouse.

S-C students and JRTOC cadets and Leia Goodwin and Jaiden Clark sang their version of the National Anthem. This was followed by Pettis County Presiding Commissioner David Dick and Sedalia Mayor John Kehde leading the crowd in the Pledge of Allegiance.

Judy Reine of VFW Post 2591 Auxiliary provided the invocation.

Guest speaker for the occasion was 1SG Chad Supanich, Smith-Cotton JROTC instructor.

“I can think of no other place today I'd like to be than right here, right now, at this ceremony,” commented Supanich, who added that this Veteran's Day was the first he spent as a Veteran after serving 22 years as active duty.

“Our nation owes a great debt to its Veterans … through untold courage and sacrifice, American Veterans have secured the liberty which the founding fathers sought to establish here in the New World. Whenever and wherever the nation has called in times of darkness and danger and well as in times of peace and prosperity, America's Veterans have been there. Veterans have carried the torch of liberty for all to see,” Supanich said in his speech.

Supanich noted that the first Veteran's Day was called a “national day of remembrance” by Pres. Woodrow Wilson in 1919.

“We celebrate Veteran's Day on the anniversary of the Armistice that ended World War I, the Armistice that began on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month. In the years since Pres. Wilson made the 11th of November a national day of remembrance, the scope of our observance has changed. From a day set aside to remember the dead from one war, to a day in which American veterans from all wars, as well as those who served in times of peace, could be honored,” Supanich said.

Supanich's speech was followed by the traditional laying of the wreaths at various memorials stationed around the courthouse. Each wreath was held firmly by a member of S-C JROTC, and handed to the wreath layer at the appropriate time.

The WWI wreath was laid by Ty Magnuson.

The WWII wreath was laid by Albert Reine Jr.

The Korean wreath was laid by Don and Carolyn Barbour.

The Vietnam wreath was laid by Jim Gaertner and his wife Micki.

The OIF (Operation Iraqi Freedom) and OEF (Operation Enduring Freedom) wreath was laid next WWI monument by Justin and Clarice McCowen.

The wreath honoring all other conflicts was laid by Justin Baker near the Statue of Liberty replica.

The wreath honoring military canines was laid by Barry Walter, Jessica Coble and "Truman" from Retrieving Freedom.

And a wreath laid by the Daughters of the American Revolution concluded that portion of the ceremony.

The playing of Taps was followed by a 21-gun salute by the VFW Post 2591 Honors Team.

Gaertner provided the Benediction to conclude the ceremony.

Those attending the 30-minute ceremony were invited to a free lunch at VFW Post 2591, 121 South Ohio.


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