American Legion and VFW Veterans Join Forces to Remember and Honor WW I Veterans
“May We Never Forget” any of our veterans who served in all wars and conflicts. Christian County, Mo., is a conservative and patriotic community tucked away in the Bible Belt of the Southwest Missouri Ozarks. Many from across the country have found their way to the county as the population has grown from over 15,000 to over 80,000 during the past 100 years. And in this middle America county local veterans work hard to Never Forget.
As the 100-year remembrance of entry into WWI has grown, local Christian County veteran Al Michel, a lifetime member of both The American Legion and the VFW, wondered how many local county men had served in the Great War. After months of research, the facts and names led to a memorable honor of those veterans from Christian County who served and died in WWI. The names of 499 county men were identified, with 18 having died during the war.
On Saturday, May 27, the veterans of American Legion Post 434 (Nixa, Mo.) and VFW Post 7628 (Ozark, Mo.) joined forces to remember and honor all who served and especially those who died. Since these two towns are just four miles apart, several local veterans are members of both Post 434 and Post 7628. A special ceremony was held in front of the Nixa Veteran’s Memorial at the Nixa Community Center, with about 100 community members and local and state dignitaries in attendance. Along with WWI-era music and the usual pre-ceremony presentation of colors by veterans and local Boy Scout Troop 200, a local WWI expert, Wesley Livesay, presented the historical background of American involvement in the Great War. Local American Legion Auxiliary member Julie White shared the history and meaning behind the adoption of the poppy as a symbol of those who shed their blood for our country. Special recognition was then given to the 18 county residents who died in the war. Each name was read, and known information about each veteran was shared before a bell was rung for each veteran who died. A poppy was then placed on the chair displaying the veteran's name and a gold star. The ceremony closed with "God Bless America" and Taps. A special WWI exhibit was also developed and displayed for all in attendance.
Both American Legion and VFW members agreed that working together for this special event serves to strengthen both organizations and shows how all veterans must work together for the good of the veterans, their families and the country.