Missouri will award the first of the special medallions, medals and certificates being issued by the state in several area ceremonies, most scheduled as part of Veterans Day, which is Sunday.
Sikeston veterans and their spouses are invited to attend a ceremony at 2 p.m. Sunday at the American Legion Post.
In New Madrid County, the honors will be presented as part of the Veterans Day program which begins at 8:30 a.m. Friday at the New Madrid County Central High School. The event is open to the public.
Charleston veterans will receive their recognition during the 10:45 a.m. Sunday service at the First Baptist Church while in Caruthersville a ceremony is scheduled for 2 p.m. Saturday at the War Memorial Park.
Stoddard County WWII veterans will be honored Friday in a ceremony at the Stoddard County Courthouse. The time for the ceremony has not been announced.
Most of the events will include a National Guard Color Guard and guest speakers.
Operation Recognition, which is being administered by the Missouri National Guard, was created under legislation passed by the General Assembly in 1999. A total of 24,000 veterans have been approved for the awards, but 18,000 applied after the deadline to participate in this week's ceremonies.
Future ceremonies will be held for the remaining recipients, said Lt. Tamara Spicer of the National Guard.
"Every veteran will be offered the opportunity to get their awards at a ceremony," Spicer said. "Our intent is not to mail them to anyone who doesn't want it mailed to them."
With approximately 127,000 Missouri veterans eligible for the honors, the participation rate thus far has been low. Spicer said the Guard hopes publicity surrounding this week's activities will help change that.
"Hopefully, after all those ceremonies take place, it will get more people to apply," Spicer said. "This is somewhat of an advertising tool."
To receive Operation Recognition honors veterans must apply by Dec. 31. The program will then end.
To be eligible, veterans must have served in the U.S. armed forces, at home or abroad, any time between Dec. 7, 1941, and Sept. 30, 1945, and have been honorably discharged.
Applications are available on the Guard's Web site at www.moguard.com, by calling (573) 638-9983 or by writing the Office of the Adjutant General, WWII Veterans Recognition Program, P.O. Box 1808, Jefferson City, Mo. 65102.
There is no cost to the veteran to receive the honors.
Information for this story was provided through the Southeast Missouri News Service.