DEXTER – Veteran’s Day activities commence here at 9:30 a.m. Tuesday with a patriotic presentation at the Bearcat Center, organizers said Saturday.

American Legion Kenady Ivan Hanks Post 59 Commander Eric Smith told SEMO TIMES the event kicks off a series of three presentations for Veterans Day.

“We’ll have keynote speakers, members of the military on stage and of course the high school band will perform,” Smith said of the morning event.” Allen Hedrick is the featured speaker this year.

“it’s important that kids understand the importance and significance the day hold for us,” he added. “A lot of kids don’t even know what a veteran is, or what it means to be a veteran.”

Smith said the program includes bestowing prizes for 5th graders who participated in the American Legion Ladie’s Auxiliary-sponsored Poster Contest.

The activities continue Tuesday with a Missing Man MIA POW Table Ceremony at 1 p.m. at the National Cemetery at Bloomfield, Smith said. The ceremony recognizes and pays homage to those soldiers who paid the ultimate price but never returned home from foreign shores,

The day of remembrance culminates at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday in downtown Dexter with a Veteran’s Day Parade, Smith said.

The parade is the first sponsored by Dexter’s American Legion members, and the first to begin in the evening, Smith commented.

“The Daughters of the American Revolution were sponsors of the parade in the past,” the commander said. “They did an outstanding job.

“The last time we had a Veteran’s Day parade here was three years ago,” he continued. “The parades were always scheduled in the morning, so not many people could attend. We decided to begin the parade at 5:30 in the evening so more people could be here to celebrate, and more veterans can take part.”

The parade route starts at the downtown Dexter Harp’s grocery store and will march down Stoddard Street to City Hall, Smith emphasized.

The Dexter U.S. Army National Guard Unit will act as the parade’s color guard, Smith said. He added that he hopes the area’s oldest living World War II veteran, Lt. Col. Cliff Manlove, U.S. Army Air Corps, is able to be in hand.

Veterans who wish to march in the parade or readers who would like more information about Dexter’s Veteran’s Day events are invited to call Smith at 573.718.2021.

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Journalist Steve Hankins is the latest addition to the SEMO Times family. Steve is an award-winning writer and a 1999 graduate of Missouri State University at Springfield.He wrote professionally for a number of publications, including The Mississippi Rag, the Nation's Voice for Jazz and Ragtime Music; The Branson Tri-Lakes Daily News; The Jonesboro Arkansas Sun; and the Daily Dunklin Democrat at Kennett, Mo. As a Sun staff writer, Steve was awarded first place by Arkansas Associated Press Managing Editors for a community service series that explored the state's methamphetamine issue. While at Missouri State, Steve earned The Quill and Scroll Award, the sole honor bestowed by the university annually for excellence in journalism. As a student, he served as music editor for The Free Press of the Ozarks, a tabloid newspaper published at Springfield, Mo. Steve earned a bachelor of science in communication with an emphasis in journalism and minored in creative writing while at Missouri State. He is the son of Malden's Lloyd Elmer and Alice Mae Hankins and lives at Malden with wife Angela; nine-year-old twin daughters Emmalee Jane and Alice Ray; and six-year-old daughter Ella Camille.

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