On Saturday night at the Fairbury VFW, people gathered to honor veterans for their service to the country and to remind people of the sacrifices that have been made in the name of freedom.
Joseph Smith, the VFW State Junior Vice Commander, spoke at the ceremony, explaining that service is a way of life for veterans.
“Only seven percent of Americans have served,” said Smith. “To me that seems like a very low number because in states like ours we have a much higher rate of people serving. It’s in our nature. That’s what we do is we serve. We know that what we do still matters. We honor the dead by helping the living.”
Smith encouraged people to show their support for veterans. He shared the story of the first time he received thanks for his service.
“There’s nothing that means more than somebody coming up out of the blue and saying ‘thank you.’ The first time that happened to me I had no clue what to say. I was helping this lady with a package when she saw my VFW hat. She asked if I was a veteran, and I told her I am. She said ‘I’m going to give you a hug.’ It caught me off guard because that was the first person outside of family and friends that ever said thank you.”
The ceremony continued with songs, recognition of each branch of the armed forces and veterans from each of the wars and conflicts. The Fairbury Elks Lodge also helped to honor veterans during the ceremony on Saturday.