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4-State Heroes honored - KOAM TV 7

4-State Heroes honored

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JOPLIN, MISSOURI -

Every day for the past 10 years, we have honored a 4-State Hero. Today, we brought them together to celebrate that milestone.

As they salute the flag with the National Anthem sung in the background, veterans are brought back in time.

“We're 18 and bullet proof. It’s an honor. When you hear the Star Spangled Banner as soon as you put your uniform on it actually brings tears to your eyes,” says Vietnam War veteran Roy Sidenstricker.

When they returned from the Vietnam War, vets weren't recognized for their duty. Now, that’s changed. More than 400 veterans from many wars and their families are honored as 4-State Heroes.

“To see America today the way they honor the vets is outstanding and all of America does it. Especially in this 4 state area it is unbelievable,” says Sidenstricker.

A meal to share like family, regardless of which battles they fought or in which branch they served, there's camaraderie in the room.

“It’s hard to explain, when you're with a bunch of guys and you're with them for so long it’s like everybody is your brother, it’s amazing,” says Sidenstricker.

They say serving the country was an experience and an honor. But J.R. Collins wouldn't wish it on anyone.

“I got a story to tell, don't do that probably as often as I should. But everybody you talk to that is a veteran understands where you're coming from and they can associate with that. It's a good experience all in all it's a good, great experience,” says Collins, a Korean War veteran.

The veterans appreciate the support and say that the real heroes are the ones that never made it home.

“We all enjoy our freedom and we've earned our freedom,” says Collins.

“Anybody that’s ever been overseas can see that we have the greatest nation on this earth and its worth protecting,” says Sidenstricker.

The veterans were all given a challenge coin to honor their service at today's event.

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