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Dexter Residents Pay Tribute to Military During Veterans Day Service

Members of the military received special recognition at St. Andrew's United Church of Christ on Sunday.

Dexter residents honored past and present members of the Armed Forces during a special Veterans Day ceremony at St. Andrews United Church of Christ on Sunday.

During the service the flags of every United States military branch were proudly brought down the church aisles as the official songs of the U.S. Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, and Coast Guard were played, during which congregation members and guest vets stood up when their flag was brought before the church’s alter by members of Dexter Girl Scout Troop 40513.

Michael Vencil, a World War II veteran who served in the Marine Corps., said the ceremony was "very nice."

"I've tried to come to the ceremony every year," he said. "It's a nice tribute to the men and women who serve our country."

Vencil was stationed in Maui, HI during the war, but also fought in Guam, and during the Battle of Iwo Jima.

"(Veterans Day) to me doesn't represent much," he said. "It's a day that comes and goes."

Mark Spencer of Dexter was deployed to Iraq in 2006 with the U.S. Army. While on a mission, he was injured and lost 70 percent of his hearing.

"I really enjoyed the ceremony," he said. "It serves as a constant reminder of troops from the past, present and future."

Rev. Larry Van Slambrook led the service with remarks about the nation's military presence throughout the world.

"Why do these men and women put themselves in harm's way? As a nation our cause has not been to go forth on foreign fields for the sake of conquering to add to our borders. They do it for the sake of freedom," he said. "They do it to give other people a chance to enjoy the freedom we have in America."

During a solemn tribute to the nation's prisoners of war and members of the military missing in action, American Legion Post 557 Chaplain Paul Tomshany led the audience in a prayer for military families.

"We are compelled to never forget that while we enjoy our daily pleasures there are others who have endured and may still be enduring the agonies of pain, of deprivation, and of imprisonment at the hands of their captors," he said.

An empty chair next to a table adorned with the POW/MIA flag served as a reminder of those in the military who have not returned home.

"Dexter does a good job acknowledging our country's military presence across the world," John Hale, a U.S. Navy veteran said. "I'm glad to see we haven't been forgotten."

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