From an idea that sprung two years ago, former members of the Charleston National Guard, which has been disbanded, will finally get together on Sept. 8.
"We'll be swapping stories, seeing where everyone is at and remembering some of the ones that didn't make it," said Don Adams of Sikeston, one of the event organizers.
Two years ago, Adams and another former guard member, Jerry Holland of Bertrand, discussed having the reunion when they saw each other at a 50th wedding anniversary.
After meeting several other times, the two began making plans for a reunion, Holland said. They are making the arrangements with the help of former Guard members Terry McKinnie and Jerry Adams, Don's brother.
"Hopefully we'll be able to strike up our comradeship again," said Jerry Adams. "And we're getting older, so there's a greater need as time goes on."
McKinnie said this reunion will be similar to a high school reunion, although he is also looking forward to talking to people who served at different times than he did. ""You see old guys you haven't seen in awhile," he said.
And Guard members usually have strong relationships. "You have to have a really close bond to protect one another," McKinnie said.
Older members are encouraged to bring their children and grandchildren to the reunion as well. "It's going to be a family ordeal," Holland said.
And even those who didn't serve in the Guard are invited to attend. "We want to help other people to see that for our country to remain free, there have to be people who serve in the military," Don Adams said.
McKinnie added: "I'm hoping they will see what it is to serve your country and what it really means to protect the United States."
Light refreshments will be served. There will be several photos and items on display, such as old uniforms and dummy weapons that were used for training, Holland said.
Depending on the turnout and discussion, the four said they would like to make the reunion an annual event, and perhaps larger, including a sit-down meal.
Invitations to the event have been mostly word of mouth, although Holland said the group plans to post fliers and advertise in area newspapers. But, they expect a big crowd.
"I've talked to several and they've all indicated that they have been waiting for something like this," said Don Adams. "Nobody's turned me down."