Veterans Day will be commemorated with a flourish, as the Midwest Winds woodwind quartet of the Air Force Band of Mid-America will perform in a public event at the Rochester International Event Center.
Monday's annual program, hosted by Soldiers Field Veterans Memorial, offers a free breakfast for vets and starts at 8:30 a.m. The music program starts at 10:30 a.m. and lasts about an hour.
Robert Gross, cemetery administrator for the Minnesota Department of Veterans Affairs, will be the featured speaker. Also featured: the Honor Guard marching with the Colors, and a sounding of the Bells for Eternity, 11-11-11, signifying the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month the ending of World War I. Tracey Pagel, a local deputy sheriff, will sing patriotic songs, and there will be a presentation of “The Missing Man Ceremony” by the POW/MIA Riders.
The Midwest Winds group is a professional group formed to communicate esprit de corps for our airmen and country. Located at Scott Air Force Base, Illinois, the ensemble honors veterans and active duty military members across a 10-state region in the Midwestern United States.
The International Event Center, site of the event, is at 7333 Airport View Drive SW, near Rochester International Airport.
Elsewhere in the region, the American Legion in Dodge Center will serve free soup and a sandwich to any veteran between 4 p.m. and 7 p.m. The Winona Legion will have a meal for veterans, Post Everlasting, starting at 1 p.m.
Plenty of businesses offer specials, discounts and even some freebies to veterans on Veterans Day, and two area schools have public programs. These include:
- Hy-Vee will offer 10-percent grocery discounts and complimentary breakfasts for veterans at all of its stores on Monday, and give customers the opportunity to express their appreciation to active-duty military serving overseas on free cards given by the store, in partnership with Hallmark. The goal is to collect 100,000 cards to send abroad.
- American Studies students at John Marshall High School, in Rochester, will host a pizza fundraiser, Slices for Soldiers, in the JM cafeteria from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. Monday. Proceeds from the $5 dinner will be used to buy hams and turkeys for local VA hospitals and veterans' homes over the holidays. Last year, the fundraiser supplied hams and turkeys to veterans, their families and staff at VA hospitals in Minneapolis, Hastings, and Tomah, Wis.
- LeRoy-Ostrander High School has a Veterans Day program that's open to the public. It starts at 8:30 a.m. The school is at 406 W. Main St., LeRoy.
- Rochester Harley-Davidson has a 20% discount for veterans and active-duty members of the military on Monday and Tuesday. The store's at 7180 U.S. Highway 14 East.