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story.lead_photo.caption Pat Doty, a Fulton VFW volunteer, puts out flags ahead of Veterans Day. Two of his sons serve in the Armed Forces, he said. Photo by Helen Wilbers / Fulton Sun.

Callaway County veterans will have a chance to get together and share stories on Veterans Day.

VFW Post 2657 in Fulton is planning an open house 1:30-4 p.m. Monday. Free snacks, coffee and tea will be offered, plus door prizes and drink specials for veterans. A ceremony of remembrance, including a moment of silence, will happen at 2:15 p.m.

"This is a way for us to honor veterans and their families," said Faye Houchins, Auxiliary member. "Some went to war and didn't come back, and some came back, and we want to honor both."

Alice Kenley, junior vice president of the post's Auxiliary, said this is the first time the VFW has hosted an event like this. In a sense, every day is Veterans Day at the VFW; previous years have generally been business as usual.

"We're hoping to make it an annual event," she said.

The primary reasoning for establishing this event is to give veterans an opportunity to chat with others who share and understand their experiences.

"We're hoping the vets will share their stories with other vets and that they'll find someone they can talk to," Kenley said. "A lot of veterans don't talk to people who haven't served, especially about the military. It's a chance for their family members to listen and understand."

Active service members are welcome to attend, too.

"We'd especially like to invite families who have veterans in nursing homes to consider bringing them," Kenley added.

She encouraged veterans and their family members to dig through their closets and memorabilia boxes.

"We hope to have veterans bring in memorabilia from their time in service," she said. "We'll have pictures of service members, and an article about Sgt. Rodney Griffin, a Mexico resident and Vietnam veteran whose remains were returned home a couple years ago."

VFW volunteers will be on hand to talk about the resources the VFW offers for veterans.

"Lots of people don't know that, for example, we lend out medical equipment and offer a ceremony to properly destroy worn flags," Kenley said. "We also want to bring awareness to the white table, which honors prisoners of war and those missing in action."

Following the open house, VFW volunteers will have a Veterans Day presentation for elementary-aged children at the Callaway County Public Library. The program will include information about the United States flag, coloring, snacks and a story about the white table.

Other planned Veterans Day events in Fulton include:

A free pancake breakfast for veterans from 7-7:30 a.m. at the Fulton High School. RSVP to 573-590-8100 or [email protected]

The Fulton American Legion Veterans Banquet at Fulton Senior Center, 6 p.m. Open to the public; tickets are $10 at center or by calling 573-642-8360.

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