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Whether serving in war or peaceful times, those who give a portion of their time to military service deserve the nation’s gratitude.

The men and women of the United States Armed Forces may enter duty with no idea of what events may unfold during their enlistment. Time has proven the world is unpredictable, casting people into harm’s way almost overnight.

Honoring military veterans has been taken to a new, deserved level in Cullman. Through the efforts of the Elks Lodge, local businesses and veterans, the community and many visitors will witness an enormous celebration of military service Saturday at Cullman Regional Airport.

With the theme of Good Morning Vietnam, the daylong event will focus on those who served during the lengthy war in the Southeast Asia, which consumed most of the 1960s and early 1970s and cost the lives of more than 58,000 American service members.

On the grounds of the airport, visitors will find a recreated bunker from the Vietnam era, helicopters used for assaults and transporting troops and plenty of other items that were familiar during the war.

For more perspective on the Vietnam War, Capt. Gary Michael “Mike” Rose, who last week was awarded the Medal of Honor by President Donald Trump, will speak about military service and the Vietnam experience.

Rose received the nation’s highest military honor 50 years after his heroic acts on the battlefield. He risked his life administering aid to comrades in spite of injuries he suffered and while enemy fire poured into the area. 

A visit with this veteran should be an educational and inspiring time.

Organizers of this celebration of veterans always add plenty of fun for the crowd. 

The car show, older aircraft, such as the Ford Trimotor airplane that essentially became America’s first airline, will be in Cullman. 

Rides are available on the Trimotor as well as helicopters for anyone who wants the experience.

Veterans Day is Nov. 11, which includes one of the state’s largest parades in Birmingham. 

Local organizers have for years made this celebration a week earlier to provide a local celebration and a chance to meet personally with the many veterans who live here. Many local veterans then go to Birmingham on Veterans Day.

Cullman area veterans have served in World War II, Korea, Vietnam, Somalia, the Gulf War, Afghanistan and other locations around the world. They all have interesting stories, some harrowing. But they are proud of their service and this country.

Entry into the airport grounds is free. Take time Saturday to join with these veterans and their families to recognize the service and sacrifice that has made the United States strong and respected around the world.

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