About 100 gathered for Johnson County's Veterans Day observance Monday.
Among those in attendance was Abby Knapp who lost her husband, Sgt. Michael Knapp, who was killed in May after his unit was hit by a rocket. He was serving in Afghanistan and just days from returning home.
"Mike was my best friend, I miss him so much," his widow said Monday.
Knapp fought back tears while addressing the crowd.
"It is so nice to have all the support," Abby Knapp said. "That's what's helped us through everything. Through all Mike's services and today. It's just been so amazing that people do support our troops and support me and continue to keep us in their prayers."
Abby Knapp brought their daughter, Kinsley, to the event.
"I have peace today knowing he's in a better place, and now Kinsley has a guardian angel watching over her," Abby Knapp said.
Debbie Collins was shocked when she learned her son, Pfc. Cale Miler, was planning to join the Army.
"I do think he felt this calling to serve his country I believe this is what he was meant to do," she said.
Monday, less than six months after he died, she had a different perspective on Veterans Day.
"There are hundreds of thousands that have gone before Cale and served our country most of whom have come back. Those who didn't we recognize and acknowledge the loss. Without the sacrifice our country just wouldn't be as strong today," Collins said.
She said the support from the Army and the community has been overwhelming.
"I am so appreciative that we live in a country that recognizes and acknowledges the service that our boys provide this country. It means the world to me as the mother of a fallen soldier that there is that kind of respect and reverence for the work they've done," Collins said.
Both Collins and Abby Knapp said "respect and reverence" is what Veterans Day should be about.
Abby Knapp said she especially appreciates the service of those in the military now that she's lost her husband.
"We thought it was going to be a piece of cake because he's done it so many times. But unfortunately we got the outcome we never in a million years thought," she said. "I appreciate the military so much more and everyone that's served because I never imagined this."
She said the support has helped her husband's family survive the difficult times.
"It is so nice to have all the support. That's what's helped us through everything. Through all Mike's services and today. It's just been so amazing that people do support our troops and support me and continue to keep us in their prayers," she said.
Collins said Monday is especially important to her now.
"Of course losing a child like I did, in service to our country, just makes this kind of a day all the more special," she said. "There are hundreds of thousand that have gone before Cale and served our country, most of whom have come back. Those who didn't we recognize and acknowledge the loss. Without the sacrifice our country just wouldn't be as strong today."
Copyright 2012 KCTV (Meredith Corp.) All rights reserved.
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