Current and former members of the military were recognized for their service at various events Monday. The annual Veterans Day Ceremony at the Peoria County Courthouse followed a parade through the downtown. The event included a remembrance of Prisoners of War and those Missing In Action and music from area high school bands.
Retired Master Gunnery Sergeant Kurt Hardy was the keynote speaker at the ceremony. He served in the Marines for 30 years and taught at Richwoods High School. Hardy told attendees it’s important to thank veterans for their service, especially those who were part of the Korean and Vietnam Wars.
"They started the POW program, (and) the Wounded Veterans Project. They're out there and they receive our current veterans that are coming back from Iraq and Afghanistan with open arms because they never had it. There was no parades. There was no banners on the streets. There was no welcome home. A lot of them even burned their uniforms in disgrace. They have never been fully appreciated."
The Veterans Day Ceremony wrapped up with a wreath laying for those who died in the line of duty. That was followed by a rifle salute, the playing of Amazing Grace and Taps.