By Brandon Dumsky
A planned Veterans Day ceremony in honor of the late Rep. Ike Skelton will go on as planned before his unexpected death on Monday.
The Second Annual Honorable Ike Skelton Veterans Day Ceremony at the Harry S. Truman Presidential Library and Museum features retired Gen. George W. Casey Jr. as the keynote speaker, as well as a patriotic concert and remarks from Rep. Emanuel Cleaver.
“He wanted a good turnout for this event,” said Susan Medler, director of communications for the library. “He worked closely with us.”
The event is at 3 p.m. on Monday, Nov. 11 and is free to the public. The concert by the Spirit of Independence Concert Band starts at 1:30. A wreath laying at the grave site of President Truman follows the ceremony.
The library’s director, Dr. Michael Devine, said about Skelton’s death:
“I am very saddened to learn about Ike’s passing. He was a great American, and wonderful friend of Truman Library. I had developed a personal relationship with him over 12 years. He was always supportive of my work at the library. I always enjoyed Ike’s stories reminiscing about Truman told with his usual flair. My condolences go out to Patty and all members of his family.”
Medler added: “(Ike was) so devoted in advancing Truman’s legacy. He was such a good friend of the library. He was integral in making events happen, such as President Clinton and General Petraeus speaking at the library as well.”
Reaction from other Missouri leaders
Sen. Claire McCaskill: "Ike Skelton represented the very best of Missouri, and fought tirelessly for the state he loved. Those of us lucky enough to call him a friend know that he lived the Missouri values of compromise and common sense. And in his half-century of service, he showed how Missouri could be a leader in contributing to the safety and security of our nation...."
Sen. Roy Blunt: “It was a great privilege to serve Missouri in the Congress with Ike Skelton and to benefit from his friendship and advice. No member of the Congress was more dedicated to America's defense and those who defend us than Ike Skelton. He loved our country and its history and will be remembered for his contributions to both."
Gov. Jay Nixon: “... Ike Skelton inspired us all with his quiet dignity and tireless commitment to America’s men and women in uniform. A friend to Missourians, Americans and liberty-loving people worldwide, Congressman Skelton embodied the true meaning of public service and will forever be remembered as a leader who left a legacy of greater prosperity and security for his district, our state and our nation.”