A day of honor
Tonganoxie veterans groups mark upcoming holiday
Friday is Veterans Day.
It's a day to honor veterans. It's a day to wear "Buddy poppies." And it's a day to fly the flag.
For Tonganoxie area veterans, it's also a day to ride in a parade.
Members of Tonganoxie's Veterans of Foreign Wars and American Legion chapters will participate in Leavenworth's annual Veterans Day parade.
The event, held in downtown Leavenworth, is scheduled to begin at 10:30 a.m. At 11 a.m., the parade will stop for the playing of "Taps."
Tonganoxie VFW commander Larry Meadows said he and Jim Rogers made their first appearance in the annual parade four years ago. Rogers is commander of Tonganoxie's American Legion post.
"Jim and I went up there and rode in a golf cart," Meadows said.
Since then, Tonganoxie veterans organizations' participation in the parade has grown.
Both local veterans' chapters, the VFW and American Legion, will take floats to Friday's parade through Leavenworth.
"This is the biggest Veterans Day parade west of the Mississippi that's held on Veterans Day," Meadows said.
This year's parade theme, "In support of America," is pertinent, Meadows said.
"It reinforces our ideas that we should support America, as veterans, as VFW members and as citizens of this country we should support America."
In continuing the Veterans Day activities after the parade, members of the Tonganoxie VFW and the women's auxiliary will meet for lunch at their post home, and at 3 p.m., Meadows plans to take a group photo of the post's World War II veterans.
The Tonganoxie VFW post, which has 170 members, is an active organization in the community.
The post created a 17-acre park, which is maintained by members. They provide the free use of medical equipment for area residents. They have built a post home and in the future plan to double the size of their building. They sponsor essay contests at the junior high and high school. On holidays the members install hundreds of flags throughout Tonganoxie and in the two cemeteries. They participate in numerous other community events and projects.
In 2006, Meadows will become a district commander in the state VFW. There are nine districts in the state. On the local level, Elmer Tanking is current senior vice-commander and Rick Thompson is junior vice-commander.
Rogers said he's proud of his America Legion post. About four years ago Rogers, and several other American Legion members, led efforts to revitalize their post.
"It started out with 12 or 13 when I took it over," Rogers said. "I think today, if everybody pays their dues pretty quick here, we'll have about 78 members."
The American Legion sponsors various projects, including essay contests, working to educate children about what veterans are, and distributing more than 100 teddy bears to area hospitals and law enforcement agencies. In addition, the legion members participate in area parades, including the annual Veterans Day parade in Leavenworth, the Tonganoxie St. Patrick's Day parade, the Leavenworth County Fair parade and the Patriots' Day parade in McLouth.