(ST. JOSEPH, Mo.) Army veteran Jesus Enriquez, retired Stg. first class, served his country during the Gulf War, and was deployed to Germany and South America.
"To stand here today in this wonderful, beautiful country of ours that we call America, it's just awesome," Enriquez said. "To have a little part-to have such a small contribution, of that I'm very, very proud."
This Veterans Day, Saturday, the community held several events to honor military personnel like Enriquez, and all of the past, present and future veterans of America.
Hy-Vee helped over 1,100 veterans start their day off right by serving a free hot breakfast.
Store employees said the company has been hosting their Veterans Breakfast for at least the past eight years, and the number of veterans who come out increases each time.
The veterans, however, said they love coming out to meet up with old friends and hear everyone's stories of war and service.
"I'm proud of my service, I really am. And, I really enjoy this [Veterans Breakfast]. I think these people are great," Lewis Thompson, World War II veteran, said.
After breakfast, veterans were treated to a parade down Frederick Avenue.
Junior ROTC groups from area high schools, several school marching bands and local veterans all participated in the Veterans Day parade.
Texas Roadhouse offered all military personnel a free lunch between 10:30 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. Store Manager Brett Larson said they served over 700 veterans.
"It's just an amazing time to hear their stories and see what they've been through," Larson said. "It's really amazing to see how thankful people are."
Some community members spent thier Veterans Day remembering those who have passed.
The St. Joe chapter of Daughters of the American Revolution held a wreath laying ceremony in honor of Lt. John "Jack" Schneider, a World War I veteran who passed in 1918.
"We had a brief history of Lt. Schneider's life, and his service to our country," Natalie Byergo, chapter regent, said. "We also honored his mother and aunt who were both members of the St. Joseph chapter."
Earlier this year, the chapter made a monetory donation to Mount Mora Cemetary to have Schneider's grave refurbished.
Wether people were remembering loved ones, or spending the day with present and future military members, Enriquez said it's great to see so many people showing their appreciation for veterans.
"It's just a tremendous, tremendous honor to have served in the military," Enriquez said.
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