Three ceremonies planned to celebrate Veterans Day

Friday, November 9, 2007 | 4:53 p.m. CST; updated 1:08 p.m. CDT, Monday, July 21, 2008

COLUMBIA — Three Veterans Day ceremonies will be held over the weekend and on Monday to honor those who have served the country.

All branches of the MU ROTC will participate in weekend-long ceremonies to honor veterans. The New Life Community Church will hold a Veterans Day celebration Sunday featuring speaker retired Col. Jim Coy. Another Veterans Day ceremony will be held at 11 a.m. Monday at the Truman Veterans Hospital.

The ROTC ceremony will begin with the national anthem and an introduction at 11 a.m. Saturday at the war memorial near the Boone County Courthouse. A wreath-laying ceremony is planned for the event, as well as Operation Remember, in which ROTC members will read the names of Boone County soldiers who have died, served or are currently serving in the military. The ROTC will also begin a 24-hour vigil of honor at 11:11 a.m. Saturday.

“The vigil is a 24-hour shift where we’re honoring the veterans who have died,” Capt. Tammy Rounsavall said.

A parade will begin at 10:40 a.m. Sunday starting at MU’s Francis Quadrangle. The parade will include MU ROTC cadets and midshipmen, a joint ROTC color guard and the Boone County Fire Protection District Pipes and Drum Band.

A closing ceremony will begin at 11 a.m. Sunday with the national anthem and a speech delivered by Brig. Gen. David F. Gross.

The Veterans Day celebration presented by the New Life Community Church will begin at 10:15 Sunday morning at Columbia’s Activity and Recreation Center.

“What we have in mind is just to honor all veterans,” said Tom Ragsdell, pastor of the church. “For us, that includes military personnel, and in Columbia, that includes police and fire.”

Guests who have served in the military, law enforcement or fire and rescue agencies will receive gift medallions. Retired Col. Jim Coy will deliver a speech about the meaning of Veterans Day and how it came into existence.

“There are literally thousands of men and women serving in the armed forces, law enforcement and fire and rescue units across this nation,” Coy wrote on his Web site. “For those who serve the nation in uniform, the words selfless service, sacrifice and suffering have significant and personal meaning.”

Coy is the chief of radiology at the veterans hospital and associate professor at the MU Health Science Center. He has written a series of books that focus on men and women who have fought overseas and in past wars. Two of his books, “Valor” and “Prisoners of Hope,” were made into documentaries.

“I believe anyone who serves this nation in uniform is a veteran,” Coy said.

Eight Columbia Public School District students will be recognized and awarded for winning the Veterans Day essay contest at the Veterans Day ceremony at 11 a.m. Monday. The ceremony will be held in the second floor auditorium of the veterans hospital. James Toombs, a doctor at the hospital who is also a lieutenant colonel in the Missouri National Guard, will deliver a speech at the event.

“He (Toombs) was the recipient of the U.S. Army’s Bronze Star Medal,” said Stephen Gaither, public affairs officer for the veterans hospital. “He’s a hero all by himself.”

Anna Kammeyer, a student at Rock Bridge High School, was the first place winner in the high school division of the essay contest.

“Veterans have honored our country with their service,” Kammeyer wrote in her essay, “and continue to honor it as long as they are living.”

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