SIKESTON, MO (KFVS) - More than a thousand attended the Veterans Day ceremony at the Sikeston Field House on Monday, November 12.
The large event honored veterans in the Sikeston, Missouri area with multiple speakers including the honored guest and speaker LTC Thomas Carr with the United States Air Force.
Sikeston school students also had a large part in the program as American Legion Cotton Carnival Royalty led the Pledge of Allegiance and the Sikeston High School Band Choir and Orchestra played patriotic music and Taps.
Carr spoke to the audience about what veterans did before and after their service and the acceptance and mindset of the families that supported them.
“Throughout history we like to, and it’s very comfortable to talk about the heroism and all the things that happen over there in the fields and in the trenches,” Carr said. “But before we ever go to that moment, there were folks back home that decided to raise their hand and serve. There were family members that supported those decisions, and even when those folks came home, it’s the family that embraces the service members back and brings them back into the fold.”
Carr said he is thankful for the support from everyone to all the veterans, including himself. He also is thankful for the support, with letters and calls, from all those at the time when they were in action as well.
“It really did help being in really hard locations and seeing that other folks were thinking about us,” Carr stated. “Even if they didn’t know us by name and by face, that they did think about us and that they did recognize that our sacrifices was going on while we were out there.”
After Carr spoke, the Missouri House of Representatives recognized him with a framed Resolution copy signed by the Speaker of the House of Representatives 99th Assembly for his 38 years of exemplary service and the variety of positions he served.
Sikeston students said they were honored to be part of the ceremony and said it was important to recognize and remember all veterans.
“It’s so great,” 2018 Miss Cotton Carnival Lakyn Kaminsky said. “I’m so happy I get to be a part of this. It’s going to be an unforgettable year. To represent them (veterans), it’s just great.”
“Most of my family has been in the military. My dad was in the National Guard and my stepdad is a Master Sergeant in the Army,” 2018 Jr. Miss Sikeston Leilani Smith added. “The veterans have survived and they’ve gone through so much. I’m just blessed to have them here with us and they can tell their story.”
2018 Miss Sikeston Brianna Gadberry has helped Veterans with the American Legion throughout the year.
“We have made goodie bags for the women at the nursing home and all the Veterans there at the nursing home,” Gadberry said. “I’m just so grateful that I get to be a part of this. I am so thankful and honored to be the Miss Sikeston and to be part of the American Legion.”
Other students on hand said it’s important for them to be at this ceremony every year and to understand what sacrifices the veterans made for the past and future generations of America.
"I have lots of family that have served in the military and that are Veterans today," Emma Jones said. "It means so much that I get to help and be a part of this great tradition."
“There’s a lot to take away from this,” Ashley Gilman stated. "I feel like it’s really important for the students to be here, and all the community to be here, to see how important it is and to respect our veterans.
“I do have veterans in my family and some have actually died in wars so it means a lot to me and seeing everybody being respectful,” Zaria Blissett-Hall added.
After the ceremony ended, many students were seen thanking veterans personally before they made their way back to class.