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City of Columbia hosts luncheon to honor veterans

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COLUMBIA (WACH)-The Columbia Parks & Recreation Department hosted a luncheon Friday for military veterans following the 39th Annual Veterans Day Parade.

There was a special presentation for the parade grand marshal, retired Col. Jack Van Loan, a Vietnam War Air Force fighter pilot who was shot down during his 74th combat mission and spent six years as a prisoner of war in North Vietnam.

Pam Williams, a resident of Gallatin, Tennesse presented Van Loan with a POW bracelet with his name on it that she purchased in the 1970s.

Representative James Smith, a combat veteran himself and officer with the South Carolina National Guard says its important to thank these men and women for their service.

"Make sure that we look at our own lives on a day like today and we rededicate our lives to live in ways that show gratitude for the service that has been done for us by so many others who have sacrificed them and their families to ensure that we live in a free country," said Smith.

Today's luncheon took place in the gallery of the Columbia Museum of Art.

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