The opportunity to honor America's military veterans stretched over several days around Southwest Missouri.

The opportunity to honor America's military veterans stretched over several days around Southwest Missouri.

After Friday's ceremonies at a number of Carthage schools, the Carthage Veteran's Alliance hosted its annual Veterans Day ceremony on Saturday at Memorial Hall in Carthage.

The Jasper School District hosted its annual salute to veterans Monday at the Tabler Gymnasium in Jasper.

After the Heartland Concert Band performed a variety of marches and patriotic tunes on Saturday at Carthage's Memorial Hall, and the Carthage Veteran's Alliance posted the colors, retired U.S. Navy Chief Petty Officer Mark Buresh read Old Glory, a poem about the American Flag, written in 1983 by Senior Master Sgt. Don Miller, USAF.

He pointed to an old, tattered flag he had salvaged from a place he had worked in the past as he read the poem.

Buresh said it was an honor to speak to veterans, tell them his story, and hear their stories as well.

"It was truly an honor and a privilege for me to come up and talk to people that know and understand what our veterans go through on a daily basis," Buresh said. "To see them and to get to know them, it's great to just talk and hear their stories and to provide a little bit of what I experienced when I was in the military. It's a great honor."

On Monday at Tabler Gymnasium in Jasper, Staff Sgt. Jeromy Sims, a recruiter with the Missouri Army National Guard, talked to the entire Jasper student body as well as veterans and family about his experience in the U.S. Marines and the Guard.
"You know 17 years ago I was where you are today," Sims said. "I had just graduated from high school and I wasn't too sure what I was going to do with my life. At that time I knew I wasn't going to go to college, I was done with school.
"I had driven to a recruiter's station and I walked into each and every branch and talked to them before I made my decision. I ended up joining the Marine Corps, served eight years in the Marine Corps."

Sims said he joined in 1995, then reenlisted in 1999 for another four year.
He was an instructor in the handling of amphibious vehicles at Camp Pendleton on Sept. 11, 2001, when he heard the shocking news on the radio that America had been attacked.

"We couldn't believe it, our country was under attack by terrorists," Sims said. "At that time, a lot of people were wanting to volunteer to go to Iraq, but we waited a year before we actually went over there. I have a lot of friends that went over there. I have a lot of fellow Marines and friends who went over there and didn't come home."