Area leaders and residents were determined to honor veterans with the Veterans Day parade and ceremonies, despite the cold and rainy conditions on Sunday.

During the opening ceremonies, Waynesville mayor Luge Hardman said she was reminded of the importance of celebrating Veterans Day Sunday, despite the rain, because of the weather that U.S. soldiers have faced fighting for freedom in foreign conflicts such as tropical storms in the Pacific, ice and snow at the Battle of the Bulge, the deserts of the Middle East and the rain in Vietnam.

St. Robert mayor George Sanders thanked veterans for their "unwavering service" and sacrifice, saying it took "ordinary people to accomplish extraordinary things."

Crocker mayor Jim Morgan said he felt it was important to celebrate Veterans Day because Americans can "become complacent" about the freedoms enjoyed in the U.S.

Command Sgt. Robert Wells, of Fort Leonard Wood, thanked the community for its support of the base and veterans, saying, " The reason you're military force is the finest fighting force in the world is because of you."

A standing ovation was given to Capt. (ret.) Stanley Loftsguard, who served as parade marshal, for his distinguished service in the Army Air Corps and later in the United States Air Force. Loftsgard is a veteran of WWII and the Korean Conflict. He is a recipient of five air medals for missions he flew during WWII that included the invasion of Normandy and air support at the Battle of the Bulge.

After the opening ceremonies, area leaders and attendees filed out of the Parker Fine Arts building to the waiting parade processional.

Parade participants donned rain gear and carried umbrellas to travel the route from the Waynesville Middle School to the Square.