The city of Blue Springs, along with the Blue Springs Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution, celebrated World War II veterans and heroes on the 75th anniversary of D-Day, the historical invasion of Allied forces into Normandy in 1944. Representatives of the DAR and elected officials gathered at the Veterans Way Memorial Thursday to honor attending veterans.

Mayor Carson Ross gave a proclamation and reminded everyone of how and why the Veterans Way Memorial stands in Blue Springs.

“Shortly after I became Mayor in 2008, I was approached about bringing The Wall That Heals to Blue Springs,” he said, referring to a half-scale replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C., designed to travel to different communities across the United States. The exhibit visited Blue Springs in 2010, in Pink Hill Park, where the Veterans Way Memorial now stands.

The event was such a success, according to Ross, the number of attendants equaled the total population of Blue Springs at the time, nearly 50,000 people.

Ross said after the success of that event, he was approached with the idea to construct a permanent memorial to honor all veterans. Private fundraising created the Veterans Way Memorial, a space where community members can reflect on our veterans, which is exactly what the collection of individuals arrived to do yesterday.

Following additional remarks by Missouri Rep. Jeff Coleman, DAR State Regent Cindy Suich shared her perspective as a military daughter and wife.

“Growing up as a military brat and then a military wife, made me keenly aware of the importance of family,” she said. “When you move every two years your family becomes an important constant in your life. In addition, the military becomes another family which supports you.”

Suich lifted her father’s dog tags, which she wore to the ceremony, saying what matters most is “that we remember and honor those who have served their country. For me, for you, for all of us, freedom isn’t free and it never will be.”

A historical account of the D-Day operation and the days leading to it were given by military historian and collector Rick McClellan and Dr. Dan Fullerton, associate professor of military history for the School of Advanced Military Studies at the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth.

Attending veterans were given commemorative medals and a solemn salute by Mayor Ross before bagpipes and a trumpet played the taps, concluding the ceremony.