Veterans Day on Veterans Way brings hundreds to MV square

By Steve Chapman

Veterans and their families treated to parade, lunch, free concert
Mt. Vernon-area veterans were celebrated with a special luncheon and concert on the Mt. Vernon city square Saturday, Nov. 10. About 250 veterans and their family members attended.
The event began at about noon. Veterans, along with their family members and event volunteers, gathered at the First Baptist Church parking lot on Hickory Street. From there, they marched down Hickory to the town square and gathered in a large tent set up on the lot in front of the patriotic mural, where volunteers served them lunch.
During the meal, retired Major General Mike Schweiger spoke briefly. He encouraged Lawrence County residents to take some time to look at a book found in the Mieswinkel Research Room of the courthouse entitled Honor Roll of Lawrence County, and learn more about the veterans who served during World War I.
“That book lists the 600- plus individuals by name with the photo and a short description of their service in WWI,” Schweiger said, “and another some 30 individuals who were in YMCA Camp Fire Girls and Red Cross, all Lawrence County. So, on the anniversary of 100 years, we also thank them, and they’re the reason that this all started.”
Darrel Campbell, one of the event’s principal organizers, also spoke. Campbell said he wanted to show veterans his appreciation for their service.
“We love you guys,” he said. “We love you, veterans who said ‘Yes.’ When your time came, you said, ‘Yes, I will go. Yes, I will serve.’ And, many of us, like myself, did not serve. But this is my way of saying ‘Thank You.’”
In addition to the meal, the Duke Mason Band entertained guests with a free concert featuring rock, gospel and country music.
A variety of organizations, totaling 200 volunteers, were represented at the event. The Mt. Vernon High School varsity cheerleaders went to the Missouri Veterans Home prior to the march and handed out letters written to the veterans from elementary students. They then marched with the veterans to the town square.
Later, the cheerleaders, along with members of the MVHS National Honor Society (NHS), helped serve food and clean up.
Also, at the event were the Southwest Missouri Cattlemen’s Association (SMCA), who donated and cooked steak for the meal.
Schweiger said Mt. Vernon actually works to help veterans instead of just saying nice things about them.
“The thing that makes Mt. Vernon unique is that they’re (about) deeds, not words,” he said. “They actually do things for their veterans.”
Campbell said the celebration was a great event, but he also wants veterans to be remembered every day, not just once a year.
“One of the objectives of Veterans Way was to make the veterans have a visual presence every day, not just on Veterans Day,” he said. “So, I think this day is just the highlight of the year for us. But, each day, we want to say ‘Thank You’ to a veteran and active duty military personnel, because they are keeping us safe and keeping us free.”


Lawrence County Record

312 S. Hickory St.
Mt. Vernon, MO, 65712


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