Veterans celebrated those who served decades ago and those who’re serving now in a ceremony in Des Moines today. Colonel Steve Van Emery, the vice commander of the 132nd fighter win of the Iowa Air National Guard in Des Moines, was the keynote speaker at today’s event. He says “it’s a for us to connect with our nation, its history our core values, and with those who through the years have given so much of themselves so we might enjoy our freedoms.” Van Emery says it’s also a day to remember and continue the support of those who’re now in harms way. Van Emery says we also need to remember those who gave the ultimate sacrifice — including the 16 Iowans who have died in the war on terrorism. He says they fought because our country asked them to take up arms and did what they had to do and prayed they would turn home. He says some did not return home and we remember them on Memorial Day, and today is to remember those who’re still here. Van Emery says there will be new veterans to honor on future holidays. He says we tend to think of veterans being older, yet there are 25-million vets, less than half of them over the age of 65. He says the younger veterans are students, teachers, doctors, law officers.Ven Emery says veterans have done a great job of protecting the freedoms of Americans. He says Americans have also recognized that the privledges and rights of freedom cannot be preserved so long as they’re denied to others across the world. He says we have recognized that we are the world’s peacekeepers. Van Emery also noted the 50th anniversary of Veterans Memorial Auditorium — the site of today’s ceremony.