Wreath-laying ceremony takes place at MU to honor veterans

Friday, November 9, 2012 | 7:49 p.m. CST; updated 8:48 p.m. CST, Saturday, November 10, 2012
Veterans, families and students gathered on Friday for the annual wreath-laying ceremony in honor of Veterans Day. Brig. Gen Bradley Baker gave a speech at the event.

COLUMBIA — A wreath of red, white and blue flowers with tiger-striped ribbon was placed around a special plaque under the archway at MU's Memorial Union as part of community efforts to mark Veterans Day.

Veterans, families and students gathered on Friday for the annual wreath-laying ceremony in honor of Veterans Day on Sunday.

The annual MU-ROTC Veterans Day Parade is scheduled to begin at 10:20 a.m. and make its way up Eighth Street to the Boone County Courthouse. A closing ceremony is scheduled for 11 a.m. outside the Boone County Courthouse.

At the wreath-laying ceremony, MU graduate and former vice commander of the 5th Air Force Brig. Gen. Bradley Baker emphasized that Veterans Day honors not only those who have died serving their country, but "all that have worn their uniforms for United States."

About 50 people gathered to observe the event, and veterans were happy with the turnout in comparison to previous years. 

"I'm especially pleased to see our younger citizens here today," Baker said. "To help us remember our veterans, and what they have done for us to protect our freedoms that we will continue to enjoy for generations to come."

Dan Forsyth, a U.S. Navy veteran, said he was satisfied by a turnout that was larger than previous years and that their support was special to him. Forsyth, whose tour of duty lasted from 1968 to 1972, surveyed the Atlantic Ocean and Mediterranean Sea for Soviet Union ships. 

Baker encouraged the public to show gratitude to local veterans. Even the small gesture of saying "thank you" could make a large difference, he said. 

Afterward, some at the ceremony went to Stotler Lounge inside the union to chat and enjoy refreshments. U.S. Navy veteran Thomas Bland, who served 1990 to 1991 during Operation Desert Shield and Desert Storm, enjoyed catching up with others who have been through similar experiences in the military. 

"It's nice to come here and catch up and talk to some other people who understand what I'm talking about," Bland said. "You sort of miss that camaraderie, and that group that forms up when you all know that you've got each other's back."

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