WEST HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — The Elmwood Senior Center held its annual veterans breakfast in West Hartford on Wednesday to honor those who have served, ahead of Veterans Day.

Event organizers said this breakfast celebration has been going on for more than 20 years. They believe it’s not just a way of saying thank you, but a reminder that freedom is not free.

“I think it’s important to never forget that privilege and the freedom that we experience today is due to their bravery,” said Rebecca Sears, the Elmwood Senior Center director.

As conflict seems to intensify worldwide, some veterans said that America’s military is growing increasingly more important.

”Freedom isn’t free and there are people like us who serve our country to defend it, defend the constitution against all enemies foreign and domestic,” said U.S. Army Veteran Jeffrey Cole.

Recognizing those who protect and serve the U.S. is very important to West Hartford Mayor Shari Cantor, whose nephew was just deployed as an Air Force pilot.

”Lots of times we are a sort of peacekeeping force, but now we are seeing a war in multiple places in our world and it is a little scary, but this is what they train for,” Cantor said.

Veterans spent the morning recognizing one another and singing along to songs like, “A Grand Old Flag” by the Chatfield Singers.