War veterans have important stories to tell. Their experiences help others understand the true challenges, sacrifices and rewards that go with service in the U.S. military.

As a way to honor our many hometown heroes, The Telegram compiled photos, newspaper accounts and war-related memorabilia from folks throughout southwest Kansas. The result was a hardcover book, “Called to Serve: A Tribute to Southwest Kansas Veterans from World War II Through the Present.”

Everyone who served has interesting memories of their unique experience.

One opportunity to hear a variety of recollections will arrive this weekend as local and area war veterans gather for a “Called to Serve” book signing. The public is invited to attend the event from 2 to 4 p.m. Saturday at Coldwell Banker The Real Estate Shoppe, 312 N. Eighth St. Martin and Judy Nusser were generous sponsors of the book and event, which appropriately will coincide with Armed Forces Day.

A trio of southwest Kansas veterans featured in “Called to Serve” will be available to sign books and visit with guests, to include two from Garden City who served in World War II.

Burl Loving was a minesweeper in the Navy in the Pacific during and after WWII. Perry Garten was an Army Air Corps glider co-pilot in the China-Burma-India Theater during WWII.

Joining them will be Steve Morris of Hugoton, who flew in combat as an Air Force pilot during the Vietnam War. He’s better known for serving 20 years in the Kansas Legislature, with two terms as Senate president.

Other local and area veterans will attend Saturday and meet with guests. Consider every vet who participates in the event representative of the many citizen heroes from southwest Kansas who served and made immeasurable contributions during times of war and peace.

While all deserve accolades, those who experienced war firsthand have personal accounts that serve as particularly compelling history lessons for current and future generations. With that in mind, The Telegram will distribute free copies of “Called to Serve” to high schools throughout the region — a contribution in keeping with the newspaper’s mission of chronicling and sharing important chapters in history.

To all who’ve served, we offer a heartfelt salute.