WARRENSBURG — Community members braved the weather Monday, Nov. 11, to honor those who have served and are serving our country during the Veterans Day program at the American Legion Post 131.

The American Legion Post 131 and VFW Post 2513 hosted the event.

Col. Matthew Calhoun, the vice commander of the 131st Bomb Wing of the Missouri Air Guard at Whiteman Air Force Base, was the guest speaker.

“It is a very monumental day in our history, 100 years,” he opened his speech with. “Thank you for braving the conditions for this day.”

Snow fell throughout the morning and covered roadways with a snowy-icy mixture.

“I guess winter is here, we skipped through fall, standard Missouri fashion,” Calhoun said.

Calhoun focused on the word “service” as the center point of his speech.

“In the Air Force, we use service as one of our three core values,” he said. “Service binds our veterans together through decades of conflict experience through this great country.”

Calhoun told personal stories of how he is thanked for his service when he is out in public.

“Every time, it still catches me by surprise,” he said.

Calhoun said it catches him by surprise because service has been a way of life for him.

“It just comes naturally in some sense,” he said. “I rarely think about it as unique, but you know, it really is.”

Calhoun brought back the words of President Calvin Coolidge who said, “The nation which forgets its defenders will itself be forgotten.”

He encouraged those in attendance not to forget those who have gone before us.

Calhoun also reminded those in attendance to not forget about the new generation of service members, such as Kayla Dugan who was in attendance for her first Veterans Day as part of the Air National Guard.

“’I am carrying on their legacy,’ she said (in reference to those who served before her), ‘they have sacrificed so much for our country. I feel courage and empowered. I will always put my best foot forward knowing those who came before sacrificed for our country,’” Calhoun said Dugan told him in a recent conversation.

Calhoun ended his speech with a challenge.

“Veterans Day is the day to not only honor the greatest generation of veterans, but also the latest generation,” he said.

Alex Slocum was the emcee for the event which also included a video, a couple of slide shows, a presentation from the color guard and taps.

Managing Editor of Digital Publishing Derek Brizendine can be reached by emailing derek.brizendine@dsjnow.com, by calling (660) 747-8123 or on Twitter at @DerekBrizendine.

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