SPRINGFIELD, Mo. Since Veterans Day is this Saturday, many organizations are holding events this week to honor those who've served. Area veterans were the guests of honor at a special free event Thursday at Highland Springs Country Club.
Klinger-Cope Community Outreach wanted to show their appreciation for veterans just in time for Veterans Day, and held their 2nd annual Champions of Freedom Appreciation Luncheon.
It was an event full of everything patriotic, meant to honor the men and women who have served in our nation's armed forces and their families, even veterans' widows.
"This is just an important thing, I think, that we have an opportunity to do, to provide an experience for our veterans, to open up a beautiful venue like Highland Springs Country Club and say thank you to them," says Jenene Dean of Klinger Cope Community Outreach.
Guests heard from a veteran author, Yancy Caruthers, and even a veteran ventriloquist, Kerry Miller, who was just part of the musical entertainment.
To many veterans, events like this mean a lot. "So many of us had such a time when we came back from Vietnam. People were not gentle to us; I even got into a scuffle at the Seattle airport with people calling me names and shoving me. It means to me that people totally appreciate us now, and I think a veteran never hears enough, thank you for your service," says Vietnam veteran John Walker.
The event also gave veterans a chance to share military memorabilia and stories, and strengthen their common bond.
Dean says, "It's like a family. I'm a veteran myself. So, it doesn't matter if you've never met before. You have pledged the oath of service to our nation, so it's a similar experience. So you're brothers and sisters, and it's like a family reunion."
Like family, they can help each other through the good and the bad.
"The battle, as they say, is never over for most of us, and it's good to always talk it out, rather than keep it to yourself," says Walker.
As we're grateful for their service, they're thankful for the show of support. Walker says, "It's a good day for us all to remember and for people to remember us, no matter what battle or when you served."
Again, the luncheon was free for veterans and their families. If you didn't get to attend this year, but would like an invitation next year, give Klinger-Cope Family Funeral Homes a call.