O’FALLON – Local residents gathered at First Baptist Church in O’Fallon to celebrate and remember Veterans in the annual Veterans Day Ceremony.
The event on Monday, Nov. 12 was originally planned to take place at the O’Fallon Veteran’s Monument before being moved inside the church because of weather conditions.
The ceremony began with a choir performance by O’Fallon District 90 and St. Clare School fifth grade music program.
Mayor Herb Roach in his introductory remarks said that Veteran’s Day is a day to pay respect to all of the men and women who have served our country.
“May we always remember that our freedom is not free — many people have sacrificed for that. May we always give to all of our Veterans, whoever they are and wherever they are, the respect, honor and gratitude that they deserve,” Roach said. “To those that have served in our military, I thank you for everything that you do for us.”
During the ceremony Sondra Marston of O’Fallon recognized the newly inscribed Veterans for the O’Fallon Monument. The Monument is located off of North Seven Hills Road on the south side of East Wesley Drive, just northwest of the Police Station and the YMCA. O’Fallon Veterans names are added twice a year.
Major General John Flournoy, Jr., Chief of Staff, U.S. Transportation Command said during his remarks at the ceremony that on his fifth assignment to Scott Air Force Base, something that has not changed is the “phenomenal” support that the community gives to the armed forces.
“It is indeed a pleasure to stand here before you and relay the appreciation all of us have for the support from O’Fallon and surrounding communities,” Flournoy said.
“On behalf of the U.S. Transportation Commander General Stephen Lyons, the first Army officer to command the U.S. Transportation Command, I am privileged to represent the 144,000 strong team of soldiers, sailors, airmen, marines and coast guard,” he said. “This joint force delivers the transportation and the capability to extend our nations helping hand and project its combat power anywhere on the globe at the time and place of our choosing.”
Flournoy said that the words “sacrifice, selflessness and serve” accurately describe the select individuals who answer the calls and defend our country.
“They have done so since the formation of this nation over 240 years ago. Thankfully within the last century — our country has taken gallant steps to formally recognize, remember and revere our veterans.”
Flournoy said that Veterans Day is important because we choose to honor living and Veterans that have died serving our country.
“We know the debt of gratitude we can never pay, all we can do is remember them and what they did and why they had to be brave for us,” Flournoy said. “We must honor them with deeds not just words.”
Flournoy said that Americans can thank Veterans by living their lives and enjoying America’s greatness and also taking full advantage of the rights that they defended.
Some of the rights Flournoy mentioned are voting in elections, volunteering in communities and supporting our first responders.
“All Veterans would be proud to know the sacrifices were not in vain.”
Flournoy said that the support received from communities like O’Fallon has been “nothing short of outstanding.”