A Military Gala was held in the Pueblo Weisbrod Aircraft Museum in Pueblo, Colo. for about 300 veterans and guests on the evening of October 6, 2017. The Gala was an evening meal and program in recognition of 16 veterans and their distinguished service to our country.
By Marlene Kouba
Special to The Herald
Present for the occasion were retired Air Force Master Sergeant Rory and Lynda (Sena) Kouba who were recognized during the Gala for their marriage that day, retired Air Force Master Sergeant Shan and Marilyn Kouba and Deanne (Kouba) Day all of Colorado and Marlene Kouba of Regent, ND.
Most of the veterans wore their original uniforms adorned with the medals they had earned. Some served in World War II plus the Vietnam War, Korean Conflict, Desert Storm, Iraq, Afghanistan and other wars that involved the United States. Each honoree received a certificate and plaque. POW/MIA veterans were honored with a special ceremony involving a white tablecloth over a chair for purity of service plus their family’s grief and hope, a black tablecloth for those who have not returned, a candle as a life light, a red rose for blood that has been shed, salt for tears by family and friends, lemon for bitterness of POW/MIA lives and an inverted glass for those not present to toast with us during the meal.
The following morning about 1000 people gathered in the small town of Avondale, east of Pueblo, to watch the Fifteenth Annual Parade put on by the Avondale, Boone and Pueblo County Veterans Foundation. Eileen Sena of New Jersey sang the National Anthem. A state Representative read a proclamation from Governor John Hickenlopper declaring October 6, 2017, as Veteran’s Foundation Day. Three service men from the Army, Marines and Air Force presented a 21-gun salute before the parade began. All of the honored veterans rode in convertibles and as they stopped in front of the grandstand their honors were listed and applauded. It was a marvelous sight to see so many stand at attention to respect the flag and our national anthem with not one person sitting or walking around. During the parade four airplanes flown by veteran pilots passed overhead in three different formations. The town has only about 800 residents but the parade has been growing each year.