MOUNT VERNON, IL (KFVS) - It's been more then 60 years since a field mess call rang out for World War II Veterans.
But, on this Armed Forces Day the chow hall bell rang loud and clear in Mt. Vernon for all Veterans.
"This is a representation of a front line kitchen," said U.S. Vietnam Veteran Byron Vinyard. "This would have been the kitchen closest to the fighting men in the foxholes."
There were no bullets flying in VInyards field kitchen. But there was plenty of pots and pans making noise as the cornbread muffins rose. And the pot of beans got stirred.
"We just have a passion for the Veterans. And we feel that we have an obligation to pass on their honor and their sacrifice."
And Vinyard and his crew do that by cooking up a World War II battlefield meal with authentic World War II cooking utensils. They put forth the effort as a show of respect for their fellow Veterans.
"And I hope that people walk away from here with just a little more respect for the Veterans" said Vinyard.
There were plenty of Veterans on hand at the Jefferson County Historic Village where Vinyard spread out his the field kitchen and collection of World War II memorabilia.
"It really does bring back the memories," said Charles Stevens a U.S. Army WW II Veteran. "I think we were the ones who protected everybody. But I want to say something about Vietnam, that was the forgotten soldier. He was done an injustice."
An injustice that many Veterans who have fought for our nation's freedom and our rights say needs to change.
"Especially for our Veterans of today," said Bruce Miles a U.S. Navy Korean War Veteran. "It seems like each conflict or war it has become less of an importance to our United States as a whole. And so we don't give the same respect to our soldiers today. As we did for our soldiers of World War II."
Which is why it's so important that we take a look back at the tools our soldiers used to fight for our country around the world. In order to gain a greater appreciation of their service.
"We need to keep those memories strong," said Larry Long-Croteau a U.S. Navy Vietnam Veteran. "We need to make sure all of our Veterans that are in need of support and help from our hospitals. And the people in our communities, we need to be there for them."
You can still enjoy the World War II display in Mt. Vernon on Sunday beginning at noon until 4 p.m., but you won't get fed for free like Veterans and their families did on Saturday.