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â€śThank you, thank you, thank you,â€ť said Mayor Fleck to the veterans in the standing-room-only crowd at the Peabody Library Sunday afternoon.
The Salute to Veterans this year, with a theme of â€śThe Places Iâ€™ve Seenâ€ť was held at the libraryâ€™s new stage area in the basement.
â€śFreedom isnâ€™t free,â€ť said Fleck, â€śVeterans are the ones who paid the price.â€ť
Janet Scank, director of the library, acted as emcee, introducing the all-local talent at this yearâ€™s event.
Hannah Schaeffer and Brooke Alexander sang patriotic songs during the Fallen Heroes Tribute, which Scank said gets longer every year. Slides of veterans from World War I through the present day who have passed are shown with information about their time of service and date of death.
This year the program included video of some of the veterans telling about the places they were stationed, from every continent in the world except Antarctica, according to Scank.
After the program, a map with pins denoting these places was popular with the veterans present, who all checked to see if their place was marked.
The Columbia City Brass Ensemble played several of the service anthems, of which a recording of them all was later played as each branch of the military was recognized. Those veterans present stood as their song was played.
Families of those now serving and those who have served were presented with a carnation by the Faith Christian Academy students who also recited the Pledge of Allegiance and sang â€śWhen Johnny Comes Marching Home.â€ť
Boy Scout troop 94 presented the colors and the Korean War Veterans retired them.
Pastor Curt Johnson gave the invocation and the benediction, praying for the families and those whose memories would be stirred.
Awards were presented to the youngest veteran present: Robert Wentworth; the longest serving: Bill Rea; and the oldest veteran: Clarice Mitchell.
At the end of the service, Pastor Johnson summed up the sentiment of many present, â€śArenâ€™t you proud that youâ€™re an American?â€ť
More photos on page A6.