Veterans and community members gathered at the front steps of Caldwell County Courthouse on Monday to honor those who have served and fought for their country, and many who came home to serve their community.

Veteran Mike Williams opened the Veterans Day memorial by singing the National Anthem. George Barber, chaplain of the local Veterans of Foreign Wars post, asked the audience to bow their heads in prayer.

"I want to welcome everyone and thank you for coming," Barber said. "It's a great honor to see everyone here to take a few minutes to recognize the veterans and spend time with them."

"We certainly do appreciate your presence and thank you very much for coming."

Barber introduced guest speaker Rick Morgan.

"We're honored today with a guest speaker who comes from a family that is noted for distinguished service to our nation during war," Barber said. "He is a member of our community who also distinguished himself through numerous acts of service to our country."

Morgan said William Prince, the founder of Princeton, was one of the first veterans in Princeton. He fought in the Revolutionary War.

"Caldwell County has been represented in every war since then," Morgan said. "We're thankful for those men and women, we're grateful for them."

He thanked local veterans for their community involvement throughout the years.

"When all the young men from World War II were dismissed from the service, they came home and all got together to make a baseball field," Morgan said.

"The land they got was in bad shape so many of the veterans went and drained the field, dug ditches, put in tiles and built the largest field that is still there. There is no telling how many young people have used those fields since then and it couldn't have been possible without those veterans volunteering their time."

Morgan said veterans from all wars have contributed to Princeton.

"I've been privileged in the last 50 years to see the veterans put on military graveside services for funerals," Morgan said. "They have done it in all kinds of bad weather and they've done so many of them. It's been a different group as the years go by and even though the ranks are a little smaller now, they still show up."

"We are thankful for all these men -- not only the ones who do it today but also the ones who have done it in the past -- for giving their time as a last salute to their fallen comrades."

Williams performed two more songs as the ceremony continued. A wreath of honor was placed at the Veterans Memorial in front of the courthouse. Members of the VFW fired shots to render honor to veterans.

The Princeton Homeschool Interact Club provided free hot chocolate, coffee and cookies for veterans and attendees.

After the courthouse memorial, the Daughters of the American Revolution hosted a ceremony for Confederate Veterans.

Sarita Holt, a DAR member, said the organization gathered to honor all veterans and remember that Civil War soldiers are veterans, too.

"We are a group of heritage believers, many of us have had an ancestor who fought in the Civil War, on either side," Holt said. "We thank you all for being here."

A monument for Confederate soldiers stands in front of the courthouse; a wreath of honor was also placed at the monument.

"We are honored to have you here with us today," Holt said. "Thank you."

Cecelia Hutchinson, a DAR member, read the poem "Veterans Day" by Cheryl Dyson.

"On Veterans Day we honor all who answered to a service call," she said. "Soldiers young, and soldiers old, fought for freedom, brave and bold. Some have lived, while others died and all of them deserve our pride.

"We're proud of all the soldiers who kept thinking of red, white and blue. They fought for us and all our rights, they fought through many days and nights. And though we may not know each name, we thank all veterans just the same."