Many people know that Veterans Day, is based on Armistice Day, observed on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month in 1918, marking the end of World War I. SFG Marc McCully, speaker at the Frontenac USD 249 Veterans Day observance, told his audience Monday about another significant date in American history that isn’t nearly so well known. On Dec. 13, 1636, the General Court of Massachusetts Bay Colony ordered the organization of the colony’s separate militia companies into three regiments. “Men aged 16 to 60 would take up arms, mostly swords and pitchforks, to defend their lands, mostly against the Indians,” McCully said. “This was the beginning of the National Guard.” He noted that the nation warred against itself from 1861 to 1865 in the Civil War. “Slavery was abolished and we were again united,” McCully said. “Without Civil War veterans we might not have the strong nation we have today.” Without World War I and World War II veterans, he added, Veterans Day, the program and his speech might not be happening. “If it did happen, the speech would probably be in German,” McCully said. Korean War, Vietnam War and current veterans continue to protect the nation and defend freedom. “We’ve come into the 21st century and have another group of veterans,” McCully said. “Without them we would be living in fear of Al-Queda. Veterans have given us every opportunity we have today and every hope for tomorrow.” He said that the best way to honor veterans is to be active community members and vote in the free elections that veterans have ensured. “You don’t have to serve to serve,” McCully said. “Being in the military is an option. I would urge all of you to volunteer, in the military or in your community and church.” American Legion Post No. 43 presented the colors, and music was provided by the Frontenac USD 249 music department under the direction of Linda Evans and James Ryals. Taps was played by Eli Tinsley and Jonah Carl. Adam Lusker read the roll call of veterans, and Kamri Brynds and Allie Moody led the Pledge of Allegiance. Rick Simoncic gave the welcome, and Mike Martin delivered the closing remarks. A reception followed for veterans. Among those present was Warren Jones, a member of the 331st Squadron, 94th Bomb Group. A tail gunner, he served aboard a B-17, nicknamed “Flying Fortresses” because of their many guns and heavy armor. A circle of younger veterans gathered around as Jones told how, on July 14, 1943, his plane was shot down about 100 miles from Paris. He was taken to a German POW camp, Stalag 17 B. A 1953 movie was set at this POW camp. “Some of the movie was accurate, and some of it wasn’t,” Jones told his listeners. He was a prisoner until May 9, 1945, when the Russian army liberated the camp. USD 249 students also hand-made cards for veterans, and many were touched by the messages. “Look at this,” Jack Lemon, Frontenac, displayed one of his cards. “It says ‘thank you for your service’, and I guess that says it all.”