Mid-Missourians honor sacrifices of nation's veterans

Missouri National Guard Sgt. Maj. Gary Blackerby of the American Legion Riders leads the group through the cemetery as part of the exit procession. They were part of ceremony at Riverview Cemetery Friday morning.

Missouri National Guard Sgt. Maj. Gary Blackerby of the American Legion Riders leads the group through the cemetery as part of the exit procession. They were part of ceremony at Riverview Cemetery Friday morning. Photo by Julie Smith.

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At Riverview Cemetery, the Missouri Society Sons of the American Revolution presented the colors in front of the headstone of Thomas L. Price, the first mayor of Jefferson City.

The wind was blustery at the Jefferson City cemetery, but the 9-year-old boy stood respectfully quiet.

“We should be thankful for what they do every day,” the boy said after the Veterans Day ceremony Friday at Riverview Cemetery. His grandmother, he said, was a veteran who had served in the Army.

Across town, Mid-Missourians paused to honor veterans at a variety of events.

At Riverview Cemetery, a 10 a.m. ceremony featured the Missouri Society of the Sons of the American Revolution presenting the colors, a speech and proclamation by Mayor Eric Struemph, and a ride-through by 16 American Legion Riders.

Struemph gave his speech in front of the monument for Gen. Thomas Price, the first mayor of Jefferson City and a general in the Union Army.

“We felt having the ceremony here was a way to honor our city’s veterans even from the beginning of our community,” said Samantha Renner, general manager for Riverview Cemetery.

A short time later, Struemph was across town speaking at the American Legion Post 5 for the annual Veterans Day program, which was hosted by the Jefferson City Veterans Council.

“America and Jefferson City are forever grateful to those who have risked life and limb to protect us,” he said. “The freedom we enjoy today is a direct result of the sacrifices they make, and their families make.”

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HyVee’s annual Veterans Day breakfast offered a chance for regulars (from left) Bill Less, Frank Crooks, Pat McFadden, Bill Bell, and Bob Fitzpatrick, all World War II veterans, to meet Roger Vaston, right, who served in the U.S. Army from 1982-1991.

Struemph said there are few heroes in this world. “As I look around today, I see heroes; you men and women are the true heroes.”

Jake Vogel, an Army Ranger, also spoke to the standing-room-only crowd at the Legion.

Earlier in the day, veterans gathered for the annual Hy-Vee Veterans Breakfast. The event always has a large turnout, and this year was no different. Veterans from all branches arrived early and lingered through midday.

Veterans who also volunteered to go to schools and collect donations for Wreaths for Heroes were treated to a breakfast at the Miller Performing Arts Center.

After breakfast, the veterans headed to various schools to take part in assemblies and accept checks to benefit the organization.

Among the schools was St. Peter Catholic School, where students presented a check to Central Missouri Honor Flight.

Also raising funds for the honor flight was Laney Clemens’ class at Simonsen 9th Grade Center. Students raised $1,000 for the program.

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Jake Vogel was the featured speaker at the Jefferson City Veterans Council’s annual Veterans Day Program at the American Legion Friday morning. The event started on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month, as when the Armistice was signed in 1918.

Columbia College took part in National Roll Call along with 11 other Columbia College campuses. A small local crowd gathered to hear students, faculty and staff take turns reading 250 names of the 6,500 that were being read across the nation.

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