Nearly every seat was filled for the Veterans Day program at the Charles Lingard Memorial Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 966 at the VFW Hall in Brookings Saturday.

Following the welcoming remarks, the posting of the colors, reciting the pledge of allegiance and opening prayer, VFW Commander Rick Bremer gave a presentation about military service.

“Today we honor those past and present service members who served this country honorably whether it was for a two-year, four-year or 20-plus-year career,” Bremer said.

In the beginning, making the decision to serve is life changing. Basic training and military schooling changes a person’s life. And then after serving a term, the soldier will decide whether to re-enlist or continue. By this time, the person has served.

“When you have served this nation, you know what price freedom costs,” Bremer said. And the person will forever be known as a veteran.

“A veteran will always remember his or her time in the service,” Bremer said. “They will always understand words like team work, duty and honor.”

Bremer went on to say that wearing the military uniform brings respect. At one time veterans brought their experience to the workforce. However, things are changing.

“Veterans in the past had more options to perform their duties — larger manpower, larger budgets and more job rating.”

Today’s military personnel face obsolete job ratings, less manpower and budget restraints, including base closures.

Soldiers are expected to do more with less.

“Also, the military has required a more physical and leaner service member,” Bremer said. “The service wants its members to look meaner, leaner and cleaner.

And facing these pressures, it has become harder from soldiers to transition into civilian life.

“Some veterans have more problems readjusting if they were deployed in areas of conflict,” Bremer said. “They bring with them stress in having to make decisions that were normally made for them.”

As a result, many veterans deal with post-traumatic stress disorder or turn to suicide as a means of dealing with the stress.

These people are not to be forgotten, he said.

“All of us here today should make an effort to reach out and say the five words that can make a veteran feel at home: ‘thank you for your service.’”

Following the presentation, a cake decorated with each military branch’s logo was served.

It was also announced that Bremer will be retiring as post commander. This was his last Veterans Day service. He plans to stay on through Memorial Day.