Organizers predicted that 1,000 medals would be passed out Monday, many to veterans visiting from out of town.
Several area Blue Star Moms — moms and stepmoms of those serving in the active military — also played a part in Monday’s events. They were to read names of their sons or daughters during a brief intermission following a performance of the Northwestern Michigan College Community Concert Band and the Cherry Capital Men’s Chorus.
“A lot of times people don’t understand military families and the stress they go through,” said Sue Raven, founder of the state’s northernmost Blue Star Moms chapter. “All my friends here are very supportive.”
Raven’s son, Paul, has served as a Special Forces medic in Afghanistan since the first of the year.
The moms gathered together at the Open Space prior to the ceremony. Beth Nussdorfer of Traverse City said recognition of the group isn’t so important.
“I am more proud they’re honoring the soldiers,” said Nussdorfer, whose son, Nick, an Army captain, isn’t currently deployed, after he served two tours in Afghanistan and Baghdad.