By STACY MILLBERG
The Jefferson Historical Society will pay special tribute to veterans with an annual program recognizing the courageous men and women who have defended this country.
The historical society, located at 42 E. Jefferson St., will open its doors on Saturday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and on Veteran’s Day from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., inviting the public to view historical memorabilia from all of the country’s conflicts.
This is an annual event the society hosts each year around Veteran’s Day, said Marlene Laidley, of the Jefferson Historical Society.
“In the past we’ve done WWI memorabilia, then the next year we did WWII, but this time all conflicts will be recognized,” she said.
Laidley said a number of items will be on display including things people have donated to the society.
“We have actual uniforms people have given us complete down to the underwear,” she said. “We have letters to widows telling them their husbands have been killed.”
Laidley said some of the items are on loan and some of the individuals who have loaned it to the society will be at the event to talk about their experiences. Each year the society hosts an open call for area veterans to attend the event and interact with patrons, detailing their experiences and memories.
“Some of them come year after year, others come just for an hour, some are widows,” she said.
This year the event will play host to 75 fifth-graders from Jefferson Elementary School on Monday. The students will attend the event following the Veteran’s Day program at the Veteran’s Memorial. Laidley said the students will be brought through the display 25 at a time. While the students are waiting to view the display, they will be given lunch or doing activities.
Laidley said this year the students will be writing couplets to area veterans to thank them for their service and to show respect. The historical society will then mail them to the local Veterans of Foreign Wars post, she said.
Norma Waters, president of the historical society, said there is no greater way to honor veterans than to listen to their stories and thank them for their service.
“One can learn a great deal about the wars our country has been involved in by listening to those who actually served,” she said. “Too often we learn history of a conflict from books but miss the individual stories.”
The event is free and open to the public. Free off-street parking is available and the historical society is handicap accessible.