WARRENSBURG In a solemn ceremony at 11 a.m. on Nov. 11, about a dozen local war veterans honored the sacrifices their comrades made during various wars in protecting liberty and freedom.
Standing in Frederick Flynn Memorial Park on Veterans Day, local VFW commander Phil Baker gazed into the steely sky.
“Courage is our willingness to die for something greater than ourselves,” he said. “Today, we honor those who had the courage and bravery to fight for our freedom — Let us never forget them.”
Local V.F.W. President Debbie Walsh offered her thoughts. Her father, the late Kenneth Johnson, was a sergeant in the U.S. Army, serving in World War II, fighting in Sicily for the 110th Mountain Division.
Hit by shrapnel in a conflict, he suffered injuries.
“My Dad was preparing to become a physical education teacher — then he went off to war and lost half his face including one eye,” she said, noting he returned from the war and successfully pursued his career.
While praising those who sacrificed their lives in battle, Walsh urged those assembled to support the soldiers who returned from the various wars.
“Let’s recognize and attend to the needs of all our veterans,” she said, noting that many thousands of veterans need jobs, counseling, and treatment for injuries and emotional distress.
Maggie Bammert watched the U.S. flag and a POW banner rise up the park’s flagpole, hoisted slowly from half-staff by veteran Ed Braley.
“I’m so glad my husband came home alive,” she said. Her husband Al Bammert served in the Air Force as a crew chief during the Cuban Missile Crisis.
His crew readied the jets that carried live nuclear weapons during the tense hours of the standoff.
Veteran Bob Therrien, 87, a member of the V.F.W.’s color guard, gazed at the veterans monument as he held a ceremonial flag.
He is one of the few remaining World War II veterans in Haskell Brothers V.F.W. Post 4821. He was a private in the U.S. Army, in an division that swept through Pacific Islands midway through the war, flushing out Japanese soldiers from caves and other hiding places
“I’m honored to be here to represent my fellow servicemen who couldn’t make it back,” he said.