McLean County veterans will be honored when the city of Livermore hosts its annual Veterans Day program, at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month.

The formal program begins at 11 a.m. Saturday, Nov. 11, at Livermore City Hall, 105 W. Third St., Livermore. The guest speaker will be retired Air Force Maj. Keith Sage. The McLean County High School Junior ROTC will present the colors and will also do a POW/MIA ceremony.

"The purpose of Veterans Day is to recognize those who have served and sacrificed for the freedoms that we all enjoy," said Sonny Renfrow, the chairman of the city's Veterans Memorial Walkway Committee "... The invitation is extended to all veterans to come out and join us along with their families."

A meal will be provided after the program.

"All we ask is that you bring a covered dish because we take care of the meats and drinks and all those goodies," Renfrow said.

Following the meal, a parade will step off from Livermore Elementary at 1 p.m. and head toward the riverfront pavilion and Veterans Memorial Walkway, where "Taps" will be played and there will be a balloon release "as a point of recognition for our veterans who, in fact, have served and sacrificed ... for our freedoms."

see veterans/page A6

According to Renfrow, a six-year Air Force veteran himself, the program usually draws between 275 and 300 people.

Renfrow said hosting a Veterans Day program is important because there are a "tremendous amount of veterans" in McLean County. While Memorial Day is a chance to memorialize "those that have gone on," Renfrow said Veterans Day is a chance to celebrate those who have served and those who are still here.

"I think it's important to continue tradition of the respect that's shown to the flag, and it's an opportunity to show respect to the veterans who served under that flag and for the freedoms that we all enjoy," he said.

According to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs website, President Woodrow Wilson proclaimed Nov. 11, 1919, the first commemoration of Armistice Day. Although World War I officially ended when the Treaty of Versailles was signed on June 28,1919, hostilities ceased in 1918, when an armistice went into effect at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month, the site reads.

Armistice Day, or Nov. 11, became a legal holiday in 1938 and was "primarily a day set aside to honor veterans of World War I," the site states. However, it was in 1954 the day became known as Veterans Day, "a day to honor American veterans of all wars."

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