Veterans of wars from World War II to the War on Terrorism stood proudly Monday as applause echoed at the old McPherson drill hall.
Veterans and members of the community came together to honor Veterans Day Monday. Although Veterans Day was officially Sunday, the community chose to honor veterans on Monday as to not disrupt observation of church services.
The day began with a breakfast for veterans and their families at the American Legion Hall sponsored by Harden Hospice Kansas.
The breakfast was followed by a parade that featured color guards from VFW, American Legion, VFW Auxiliary, American Legion Auxiliary, Sons of the American Color Guard and Lyons High School ROTC.
The McPherson High School Band and the McPherson Youth Pipe and Drum Band also marched in the parade.
Veterans walked en mass, and the American Legion Riders from Canton Post 192, Lindsborg Post 140 and McPherson Post 24 rode with the colors.
The formal ceremony began at 11 a.m., the exact time the Armistice ending World War I was signed on Nov. 11, 1918.
Dan Hervey, chairman of the McPherson Area Veterans Committee was the master of ceremonies, and Sen. Jay Emler, R-Lindsborg, was the featured speaker.
Those who served in all branches of the military and those who have served in every conflict since World War II, as well as those who served in peace time and are currently on active duty were honored.
“We honor your service and those who fought bravely for freedom from fear and for freedom from tyranny,” Emler said.
Emler noted 1 million men and women have given their lives for their county since America first fought for its independence in 1775.
“They were men and women who died for their country,” he said. “Their deaths were a loss to their families, a loss to the communities and a loss to their nation.”
During the ceremony those who served in Vietnam or during the Vietnam era were asked to come to the front of the hall to be recognized. These former service men and women are now eligible for a new Vietnam War Medallion being issued by the state of Kansas.
“Vietnam was a divisive issue,” Emler said. “This generation has waited far too long to be recognized for their effort.”
Emler said on Sept. 18, he was honored to be allowed to lay a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. Shortly after the wreath was laid, a pouring rainstorm erupted. Someone shot video of the guard standing at attention at the tomb as the rain came down in sheets. The video went viral.