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Boonville Daily News - Boonville, MO
  • Veterans Day event held at high school

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  • Boonville area veterans embarked on the Boonville High School this morning for a veterans program coordinated by the Daughters of the American Revolution: Hannah Cole Chapter, local student organizations and the American Legion Auxiliary. The breakfast began at 8 a.m. with a program starting at nine with a couple hundred local veterans attending. Breakfast consisting of biscuits and gravy, sausage and fruit, was served by the students of the National Honor Society. Many veterans spent this time visiting with friends. The DAR gave pens to the veterans as they came in. The 'Wall of Heroes' included pictures of past veterans and those currently serving in the military from the Boonville area. Following breakfast everyone moved into Windsor Gymnasium. The colors were posted by Boy Scout Troop 67 with introduction of speaker by MDAR Regent, Norma Johnson. Music was provided by the Boonville Silver Pirate Marching Band and the Boonville High School Chamber Choir. The Honor Flight program was the main topic in guest speaker Steve Paulsell's presentation. Paulsell is the flight director of the Central Missouri Honor Flight Program. He explained the history of the Honor Flights in Missouri, including where the idea came from. He said that Sedalia started the first Honor Flights in the area. After a story about Sedalia's Honor Flights by KOMU Channel 8 news, Paulsell asked why Columbia could not do something similar. He started talking with area people and started to raise money to cover the cost of taking individuals to Washington D.C. Paulsell said they had a telethon on KOMU to raise money for these flights, bumping Wheel of Fortune. "We found out how sacred Wheel of Fortune was but KOMU also had calls coming in the next morning as well," Paulsell said. Paulsell said they have raised over one $1,000,000 for the flights. The flights, Paulsell explained, were first offered for World War II veterans since a memorial dedicated to their service had recently been completed at the nation's capital. Paulsell said the honor flights are a full day experience. They board a flight, arrive at the Capital and see many of the sights before arriving at the memorial. Once time is completed there, the veterans will board their flight and come back home. "We make a full day since a lot of veterans like to sleep in their own beds," Paulsell said. Veterans with disabilities can go, including those who are wheelchair bound. Paulsell remarked about some extraordinary stories from veterans who experienced the flight. "I remember one veteran who said that he had nightmares every night since he came home from the war, they stopped when he went to the memorial," Paulsell said. Paulsell also told a story of two Mexico, Missouri veterans who met on the flight for the first time but ended up being neighbors, with both of their yards connected. Further in the presentation, Paulsell said the spoke to veterans who had not taken the Honor Flight and mentioned that now Korean Veterans were going on the flights as well. He showed a video depicting what the Honor Flights are and what they mean to the veterans who have gone. Many veterans could be seen getting a little emotional, especially during the video. Paulsell ended with telling more personal stories and talking about the dedication of the people who were behind making sure that the flights would proceed. "When you are on the list of flights, you can choose if you want to go on a certain flight or not," Paulsell said.

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