LIBERTY, Mo. — Freedom is not free. It’s come with a price in Liberty, Missouri.

“It hurts seeing what goes on today,” Vietnam Veteran and past Post VFW 4043 Commander, Jerry Pate, said.

“I will never forget that time in my life and what I experienced,” Steve Hansen, also a veteran of the Vietnam War, said.

Hansen, the city’s long-time former Public Works Director, was drafted in 1969 and part of the Cambodian Incursion. Four were killed, eight were wounded when his platoon was ambushed.

“It was just a difficult environment. It seemed like everything wanted to kill you,” Hansen said.

His photo is part of a display honoring Liberty veterans at the Liberty Community Center, so is 89-year-old Jim Van Slyke, who was stationed at Fort Leonard Wood in 1953.

At the Veterans Day Celebration in Liberty on Friday, lessons were bestowed on a younger generation about the impact of war.

“People growing up today don’t understand what it’s all about. If it hadn’t been for people up here on this wall, people on the Vietnam Wall, all of them, if it hadn’t been for them we wouldn’t be here today,” Pate said.

Even veterans who served decades ago say the simple expression “Thank You for Your Service,” goes a long way.

“It’s very much appreciated with the history,” Vietnam Veteran and past Post VFW 4043 Commander, Joel Womack, said.

“I look at those photos and it’s hard to imagine how many of us have actually served I just want to thank everyone of them,” Hansen said.

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