• Jerry Plantz: Salute those who serve and sacrifice

  • This Saturday our glorious nation celebrates Armed Forces Day, a day set aside to honor the five U.S. military branches.

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  • This Saturday our glorious nation celebrates Armed Forces Day, a day set aside to honor the five U.S. military branches.
    It was first observed May 20, 1950. In 1962 Navy veteran and President John F. Kennedy led the way in establishing Armed Forces Day as an official holiday.
    Unlike other Armed Forces Days, this one will not be celebrated with military air shows, receptions, open houses, color guards and parades due to budget cuts (sequestration), for the Pentagon has frozen all such activities.
    Although the magnitude is not as devastating as those being affected by the poor or cancer patients, the budget cuts have impacted a group of area patriots.
    Gladstone resident David Page, for the second year in a row, leads a team of local volunteers in a two-day “Salute to Our Heroes” event.
    While their dream has been shattered, it has not been swept away for Armed Forces Day will be celebrated in Kansas City even without the armed forces.
    Friday morning, beginning at 8 a.m. the names of some 7,000-plus who have died in Iraq or Afghanistan since 2011 will be read, followed by a 21-gun salute. In the evening, veterans and their families will be afforded a free tour of the World War One Museum.
    At 11 a.m. Saturday, a parade will commence at Pershing Road and 26th Street in Kansas City. Afterward, in nearby Washington Square Park, a military resources exposition will be available to the military and their families. Live, free entertainment will be provided all day long, leading up to a 7 p.m. free patriotic concert, which I have the honor of producing and emceeing.
    More than 160 musicians, singers, and performers have given of their time including the 50-piece American Legion Band of Greater Kansas City, The Young Jazz Masters, The Men of Note, The KC Bettys, Jason Pritchett, Shrine Bag Pipers and Command Performance, and DJ La Sha.
    There will be a moving tribute to the fallen assisted by area families who lost a loved one in the military, the Gladstone, VFW Post 10906 and The Men of Note.
    So bring your chairs or blankets, and come help us celebrate those who actively stand on guard, veterans who stood on guard and those who died on guard for our country.
    I give you President John Adams’ toast: Independence forever.
    Jerry Plantz lives in Lee’s Summit. His website is at www.Jerryplantz.com. Reach him at jerryplantz@msn.com.

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