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First Veterans Festival set in Cottage Hills

Telegraph - 9/17/2023

Sep. 17—COTTAGE HILLS — The inaugural Veterans Festival is planned by the Cottage Hills VFW 7678 at 121 S. Williams St. for Friday, Sept. 22, and Saturday, Sept. 23.

VFW Junior Vice Commander Tim Brown said the event will feature the Global War on Terror Wall of Remembrance which has the names of all the service members who have died in the war on terror from 1984-2021. It also has the names of all the people who died on September 11, 2001.

Brown said there will also be about six extra panels where people can write the names down of first responders who have committed suicide.

"This is very near and dear to my heart, as it is to other veterans," Brown said. "It is a very humbling and emotional experience to see. It is also there for healing, and that is the main reason why we are doing this."

At 9:30 a.m. on Friday, volunteers will be staging the wall at Gordon Moore Park in Alton across from the Rose Garden. At 9:55 a.m. there will be a short ceremony with words from Brown, an invocation from a former combat veteran turned pastor, a performance of the National Anthem, and a 21 gun salute.

After the ceremony, the wall will be transported to the Cottage Hills VFW escorted by a parade of of about 15 vehicles from fire departments, police department, veterans motorcycle clubs, the Riverbend Jeeps, and a convoy of military vehicles that includes a World War II tank.

at the VFW hall, food trucks and vendors will be on hand noon-10 p.m. both Friday and Saturday. At 5 p.m. each night there will be entertainment, with performances by Guilty Pleasure on Friday and Smokin' Oldies on Saturday. Saturday also includes a car show and a bags tournament. The event also will also feature a red tail hawk and educational talks by the TreeHouse Wildlife Center Sanctuary.

Brown said the wall will remain open to people 24 hours a day at the VFW Sept. 22-25. Every night, he said, the VFW will host bonfires for veterans and first responders.

For more information, call 618-259-0559.


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