“Veterans have shown kindness and honor to America in many different ways. They sacrifice their time and personal lives to give us freedom,” read the young girl. “This means sometimes they may have to leave their families and their homes for a long time.” The VFW National Home for Children residents and staff observed Veterans Day 2014 with fellowship, song, and remembering the veterans in their lives. The evening opened with the Pledge of Allegiance and prayer. After dinner, the young lady read from her paper, “Why I Appreciate America’s Veterans.” The paper has won the VFW Patriot’s Pen contest at the local post level. She spoke about how veterans are brave and kind, and devoted to protecting our country. “Veterans have risked their lives to save our country,” she said. “As patriots, they are courageous and brave.” She should know – her mother was in the United States Navy during the Persian Gulf War and her grandfather was a Vietnam War veteran who recently passed away. “Thank you for your service,” he said to the veterans gathered there. Ben said veterans are “a rare breed.” Military service is one of self-discipline, sacrifice, and dedication. And one more trait – “Love for your fellow Americans.” A love that would allow you to throw yourself on a live grenade for someone you just met, he said. Next, those in the audience were invited to share their thoughts and memories about veterans. Education Services Supervisor Laura Lonsbery spoke first about the veterans in her family, including her husband. “I’d like to say thank you to them, and thank you to the veterans in the crowd,” she said. Case manager Naomi McClurg grew up on various military installations. Her father was a career military man who instilled a love of service in his children. “We all grew up to serve,” she said. “Our choice was either to marry into the military or join the military.” Naomi chose to marry a military man and become a social worker. “Thank you to all the veterans for your service,” she said. Education Specialist Dave Westjohn is also a veteran. “I’m a very proud U.S. Army veteran,” he said. Dave spoke about the empty table set for one, set in a corner of the room, waiting. “Part of the brotherhood, sisterhood is missing,” he said. “We live with dimming hope they may one day return.” “Please remember to say a silent prayer that they may all return,” he concluded. The evening ended with music from country singer Tyler Roy of Battle Creek. He wrote a song titled “Be a Man” for the occasion. “A man who will fight for you…” he sang.