Veterans from wars across time and around the world gathered at the Costick Center Friday for the City of Farmington Hills Senior Division's annual Stars and Stripes Forever celebration.
More than 50 men and women came forward during the event to identify where, when and how they served. Some became emotional as they spoke about comrades lost and the battles they endured.
Keynote speaker for the event was retired U.S. Army Col. J. Harold Ellens, a psychotherapist and theologian who holds two doctoral degrees and is a published author. He opened his remarks by noting, "Nobody hates war like a soldier hates war."
After 37 years of military service, Ellens shared reflections on being both a soldier and a veteran, and said the "sense of being a member of the corps" has been one of the most shaping aspects of his life.
He also spoke of the loneliness that comes with having served, as well as a tinge of grief. He said he has never gotten over the loss of one of his four brothers, who among them had 160 years of services.
"What I eventually discovered is that I don't need to get over it," he said. "It seasons me."
Farmington Hills mayor Barry Brickner and Farmington mayor Tom Buck both welcomed and thanked veterans for their service.
"You are heroes and you are also leaders, and I thank you on behalf of this community for your service," Buck said.