(TRINIDAD, Colo.) — At a special event on Veterans Day, over 300 veterans were honored with a luncheon and demonstration in Trinidad, as part of a yearly gesture of gratitude from the community.

2022 marks the 21st year that Trinidad has hosted the Veterans Day luncheon. More than six schools and clubs from the Las Animas County area pitched in, with students volunteering to serve a meal to the more than 300 veterans who attended.

“To see all the individuals in here that served and the young generation of kids that were supporting us here, brings a great pride and reminder of why we do what we do,” said Marine Veteran Mathew Dominguez. “It lets me have hope that there’s another generation that will stand up and continue to do what we’ve done.”

Also at the luncheon, the Fort Carson Color Guard and band performed, including performances of taps, America the Beautiful, and the fight songs for each branch of the military as the veterans stood to be recognized for their service and sacrifice.

Children made notes and drawings to give to the veterans, many of whom said the gesture warmed their hearts.

“I’ll treasure that,” said Boyde Tallada, a World War II Navy Special Forces Veteran, as he held a note from a little girl named Kaylee. “When kids can do something like that, that’s an honor for me.”