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by Bob Moore, SLFP.com
ST. LOUIS, MO (SLFP.com) November 10, 2012 - The City of St. Louis hosted the 29th Annual Veterans Day Observance and Parade, on Saturday, November 10, 2012, at the Soldiers' Memorial Military Museum.
At 11 a.m., St. Louis Mayor Francis G. Slay rang the bell, which was followed by the firing of a cannon and posting of Colors by Scout Troop 724. The POW/MIA Ceremony was proudly presented by the American Legion, Service Women's Post #404, and Funeral Honor Guard.
In his remarks to the small crowd of military families, veterans and friends gathered in front of the Memorial, Mayor Slay thanked Veterans for their service. "For as an American, I have benefited greatly by your service," said the Mayor.
Acting St. Louis Postmaster Cathy Vaughn spoke about the significance of the new Purple Heart Medal Forever Stamp. "To each and every one of you and all veterans around the country, you have earned our nation's eternal gratitude for your service to America," stated Vaughn.
"It is our hope that with the issuance of the Purple Heart Medal Forever Stamp, the Postal Service, along with the rest of our nation, can pay tribute to those whose sacrifices have given all of us a country that is truly the land of the free."
Mayor Slay and Cathy Vaughn unveiled the new Purple Heart Medal Forever Stamp, which the U.S. Postal Service issued to honor the sacrifices of the men and women who serve in the U.S. military.
Following remarks by keynote speaker Rear Admiral William A. Brown, who also served as Grand Marshall, Mayor Slay presented a unique double plaque to distinguished veterans Mr. John Eckhoff, United States Marine Vietnam Era Veteran, and his son, United States Army (Retired) Joshua Eckhoff, who served as Father/Son Grand Marshals for the parade.
Following a press conference Thursday morning at St. Louis City Hall, SSG Joshua Eckhoff, a two tour combat veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom, had stated that he was very proud of our participation in Iraq. "I think we've done the right thing there. But I'm very supportive of President Obama's decision to end the war in Iraq and bring our troops home. I'm also very supportive of his decision to end the war in A bring all our troops home from A as well," stated Eckhoff.
The quiet ceremony quickly changed with the boom of the cannons announcing the beginning of the parade featuring nearly 100 units and over one thousand participants.
American flags waving under bright blue skies and record breaking temperatures in the upper seventies created a wonderful patriotic backdrop for the event. Along the parade route, the crowd swelled with hundreds of onlookers holding handmade signs showing their support for the troops. Spontaneous cheers arose from the spectators as marching bands, military units, fire engines, numerous Corvettes, Mustangs, antique and custom automobiles passed.
It was also a memorable day that so many citizens turned out to proudly thank our war veterans and active duty military for their service.
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