JOPLIN, Mo. —
As her late father’s name was read aloud, Glena Harvey held up a framed photograph of him and rose to accept an award on his behalf.
As those gathered in the room applauded, she returned to her seat and set the photo next to the medals that honored Glen Royer’s service in World War II, Korea and Vietnam.
“I just felt he should get some recognition,” said Harvey of her father, who retired from the Army in 1965 with the rank of sergeant major. “I was an Army brat, and also an Army wife.”
Sitting with her was her husband, Paul Harvey Jr., who was recognized for his service in Vietnam, for which he had previously received the Purple Heart.
“I think it’s a good thing to close old wounds and praise the participants in the various conflicts,” he said. “I don’t think kids today appreciate what’s been done on their behalf in many instances.”
The Carthage couple were just two of those in attendance Wednesday for the Patriot Day Veterans Award Ceremony at the Missouri National Guard Armory in Joplin. It was presented by the Four-State chapter of the Military Officers Association of America in conjunction with the National Guard and the Missouri Veterans Association.
The medals, medallions and certificates of appreciation that were given to veterans Wednesday were in recognition of their “selfless service and significant sacrifices on behalf of our country,” said David Oberley, a retired lieutenant colonel who served as master of ceremonies.
Those sacrifices were made, he said, “so that our country can have the freedoms that God gave us and that were outlined in our Declaration of Independence.”
The keynote speaker for the ceremony was Brig. Gen. J. Marty Robinson, assistant adjutant general of the Missouri National Guard and a native of Marshfield.
Robinson opened his remarks by noting the more than 30 honors that were to be presented during the event.
“I look at the number of folders (containing awards) and it struck me,” he said. “It speaks volumes about you, this community and the surrounding area. This is the heartland. These are American values and our state’s values.”
His remarks paid tribute to those who served on the battlefield, and also those who made sacrifices on the home front.
“The husbands, wives, parents and children of our service members are the backbone or our armed services,” Robinson said.
Among those receiving honors was Lt. Col. Paul W. Johnson.
The Joplin native enlisted after high school, and served in World War II, Korea and Vietnam.
His military career included service in the Army and Marine Corps. He attended the U.S. Naval Academy, and he retired from the Air Force.
“It’s kind of nice to see everyone be recognized,” said Johnson, 86, who attended the ceremony with his wife, Bess. “Joplin has always been this way. When I was in high school and ROTC, the least little thing was recognized, and that’s good. It’s encouraging.”
After the ceremony, Robinson said it was “an honor and a privilege” to be able to pay tribute to those who had served, noting that veterans in past wars and conflicts had an experience completely different from that of their more recent counterparts.
“These guys that served in World War II, they went over until it was over or they were sent home in a box,” he said. “I had the privilege of serving in Iraq, but you could communicate by phone and computer. You could pay your own bills while in a war zone. These folks were lucky to even get a letter out.
“I get chills when I think about it.”
WEDNESDAY’S CEREMONY honored veterans, living and deceased, for their service ranging from World War II to the Gulf War and the global war on terrorism.