BRANSON, Mo — Branson’s Veterans Task Force is preparing the Veteran’s Village at Ballparks of America to host hundreds of former military men and women for their Veteran’s Week celebration.
Tom Forster with the Veterans Task Force says they’ve had to implement a few changes this year in response to covid-19.
“This year will be a little bit different,” said Forster. “We have fewer vendors and we have the vendors spaced apart in our Vendor Village. In our mess hall, we’re going to be serving that free lunch to the veterans a little differently this year.”
Veteran’s Week kicks off at 2 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 5, at the Star Theatre for the Vets for Vets show. The Veteran’s Village will also be hosting lunch-ins and reunions throughout the week, leading to Branson’s 88th Annual Veteran’s Day Parade.
Bob Sarver with Branson’s Veterans of America says the parade will only be half as big as the one last year.
“This whole world is all turned upside-down, but you know what? People ask me, ‘you still doing the parade?’ And I tell them, ‘yeah, I would do the parade if we only had one participant because that’s our day,'” said Sarver. “So, we’re excited. We just hope people come out and have fun. The bands are there to perform for people. The people that are going to be there want to be there for a reason. I hope what we are doing will be a positive influence on our town and maybe this country. Let’s lift everybody up and come and have fun.”
One of the veterans looking forward to this year’s events is Verl Young. He has come to Branson for Veteran’s Week for over 30 years. He says it has helped many veterans heal very old wounds.
“The first year I came up here and felt the love of this town and met some other veterans who have been in situations that I was in and got to talking to them,” said Young. “I got to realizing that I’m not alone in this game.”