Each year, Americans honor the men and women who have served in the United States Armed Forces with special Veterans Day ceremonies.
"Through the generations, America's men and women in uniform have defeated tyrants, liberated continents and set a standard of courage and idealism for the entire world," said President George W. Bush in his Veterans Day proclamation. "To protect the Nation they love, our veterans stepped forward when America needed them most.
"In conflicts around the world, their sacrifice and resolve helped destroy the enemies of freedom and saved millions from oppression," said Bush. "In answering history's call with honor, decency and resolve, our veterans have shown the power of liberty and earned the respect and admiration of a grateful Nation."
Veterans Day, which is held each year on Nov. 11, began at the end of World War I when an armistice between the Allied Nations and Germany went into effect on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918.
Around 20 years later, Congress approved an act making Armistice Day a legal holiday to be celebrated with parades, public meetings and a brief suspension of business at 11 a.m. each year on Nov. 11.
In 1954, Congress amended the Armistice Day act by replacing the word Armistice with the word Veterans.
"All of America's veterans have placed our nation's security before their own lives, creating a debt that we can never fully repay," said Bush. "Our veterans represent the best of America, and they deserve the best America can give them.
"As we recall the service of our soldiers, sailors, airmen, marines and coast guardsmen, we are reminded that the defense of freedom comes with great loss and sacrifice," said Bush. "This Veterans Day, we give thanks to those who have served freedom's cause; we salute the members of our Armed Forces who are confronting our adversaries abroad; and we honor the men and women who left America's shores but did not live to be thanked as veterans."
Each year, area students honor local veterans with Veterans Day assemblies. This year, Barry County schools will host patriotic ceremonies on Nov. 9 and Nov. 10.
The Purdy chapter of the National Honor Society will host the Purdy R-II School District Veterans Day assembly in the Purdy High School gymnasium at 9:30 a.m. on Nov. 9.
Music will be provided by the band and choir. A special guest speaker will give an honorary Veterans Day address. All service members who attend will be recognized.
The Cassville R-IV School District's Veterans Day assembly will be held in the Cassville High School gymnasium at 9 a.m. on Nov. 10.
Special recognition will be given to all veterans who attend, and a reception to honor veterans for their service will be held after the assembly.
A Veterans Day assembly will be held for the Shell Knob School District in the Shell Knob gymnasium at 1:30 p.m. on Nov. 10.
The M&M Boys from Oldies 105.1 KOSP radio station in Springfield will participate in the Veterans Day assembly. Special musical selections will be performed by the Shell Knob band.
All attending veterans will be recognized by their branch of service. A small reception to honor veterans will be held after the assembly.
The Wheaton R-III School District's Veterans Day assembly will be held in the school gym at 12:45 p.m. on Nov. 10.
All students will participate in activities to honor local veterans.
Wheaton will also host a Veterans Day dinner in the school cafeteria at 5:30 p.m. on Nov. 10. All Wheaton area veterans and their spouses are invited to attend the honorary dinner.
A Veterans Day assembly will be held for the Southwest R-V School District in the Southwest High School gymnasium at 1:15 p.m. on Nov. 10.
The assembly will include the Junior ROTC colorguard, several Veterans Day special readings and a dramatic re-enactment.
Elementary, middle school and high school students will give musical presentations, and all students will salute local veterans in attendance.
The Exeter R-VI School District will hold a Veterans Day assembly in the Exeter gym at 2 p.m. on Nov. 10.
The assembly will begin with the Junior ROTC colorguard. The choir will perform a patriotic music selection, local veteran Doug Weston, who is also an Exeter School Board member, will deliver a special Veterans Day address and a student will read a Veterans Day history essay.
All veterans attending the assembly will be recognized for their service.
In addition to the district-sponsored Veterans Day ceremonies, American Legion Post #118 will host a free Veterans Day breakfast on Nov. 11.
Local legion members will begin serving food at 5:30 a.m. Food will be served until around 10:30 a.m.
Area community members are invited to join local veterans for breakfast at the American Legion building, which is located on Highway 112 in Cassville.
All local veterans are encouraged to attend a Veterans Day assembly or event to receive recognition for serving in a branch of the Armed Forces of the United States of America.