WARRENSBURG VFW Post 4821 Commander Phil Baker slowly raised the American flag on Monday Nov. 11 up a silvery staff in the middle of the Frederick Flynn Memorial Park.
About two dozen people who gathered to witness the Veterans Day ceremony, either snapped solemn salutes or held a hand over their heart as “Taps” played.
This flag-raising, honoring soldiers who died while serving their nation, concluded the ceremony sponsored by the Haskell Brothers VFW Post 4821 in Warrensburg.
Earlier, Baker had talked about those who’d sacrificed their lives for their fellow Americans.
“Those who live today, those who know freedom, now remember those who gave up their lives for freedom,” he said, quoting a presidential address by Ronald Reagan. “And in our memories, in our hearts, we hold them close to us still.”
Baker concluded that those who died fighting for freedom set an example for us all.
“For all time, they are what we can only aspire to be: giving, unselfish, the ultimate representative of human love — to lay down one’s life so others might live.”
Veteran and local VFW Quartermaster John Peluso, who in the late 1960s fought in Vietnam’s infamous and violent Tet Offensive, offered his thoughts. He noted that while the Flynn Park, site of the VFW ceremony, was indeed established to honor those who died in combat, Veterans day was to honor all veterans who served. But he added that honoring them could at times be a challenge.
“Most all veterans are not looking for recognition or Thank You’s,” he said to those assembled.
Peluso explained the history of Veterans Day, and how it has evolved.
“It’s not just a day off from work or merely a holiday for a backyard barbecue,” he said.
Debbie Walsh, President of the VFW 4821 Women’s Auxiliary, said that the national Auxiliary organization’s original purpose was to care for soldiers returning from war and help their families. But with other entities now undertaking those duties, the VFW Women’s Auxiliary was now primarily raising funds to provide comfort, socialization and necessities for veterans. She voiced an invitation to others in the community to join the organization, which is enjoying its 100th year nationally and 31st year in Warrensburg. Walsh concluded by reading a poem extolling freedom and the bravery of those who protect it.
Others participating in the ceremony — many of them in the VFW color guard — include veterans Ed Braley, Monty Fish, Gregg Fish, Bob Therrien, and VFW Men's Auxiliary member Eddie Bates.