Coastal Voices: A chance to honor veterans

Written by John Ging November 01, 2011 03:30 pm

Veterans Day 2011 allows us to once again honor the men and women who currently serve and those who have served and defended our great nation in all branches of the armed forces of the United States of America.

Their sacrifice and service wasn’t initially honored on a universal Veterans Day. 

The first remembrance events began in 1919, the year following the signing of the Armistice that ended the Great War, later called World War I. In 1938, Armistice Day became a formally observed national holiday.

Early on, two minutes of silence was traditionally observed beginning at 11a.m. on the 11th day of the 11th month to commemorate the exact time the cease-fire ending WWI was signed in the Compiène Forest in France.

Finally, in 1954, following WWII and the Korean War, President Eisenhower signed the law changing the name of Armistice Day to Veterans Day. As a nation, we now had a formal day on Nov. 11 to honor the American veterans from all wars, conflicts and those who served during peacetime.

The parents and families of today’s soldiers, airmen, marines, Coast Guard and sailors differ little than those who sent their sons and daughters off to defend America throughout our nation’s past.  Serving our country’s military has always been a personal commitment that includes extreme risks whether in active duty, reserves or the National Guard.

Serving in a role that puts you in harm’s way isn’t for the feint of heart, yet each American generation has proudly faced such challenges willingly. Nothing brings home the sacrifice of those who serve in our nation’s military than giving the supreme sacrifice of one’s life. Families receiving a meticulously folded flag from an honor guard would rather meet their kin at the family dinner table than honor them at a gravesite

Our entire planning committee urges every Crescent City resident to actively participate in this year’s Veteran’s Day program. Since Friday, Nov. 11 is an observed holiday for federal, state and county employees, along with being a holiday for the banking industry, the pool of people who can easily take the time to honor our veterans is increased. Please join us and participate in these activities to honor those who unselfishly served or gave their ultimate sacrifice to their nation.

Crescent City is one of the few communities in the nation that still celebrates the service of our veterans. We do this with a traditional parade as well as an evening celebration that provides a free meal for those in our community who have served our nation. Behind the scenes, many of your community members and fellow veterans are involved in the planning and execution of these events.

Veterans are fed for free. A suggested fee of $7 is requested from non-veterans who attend.  The meal will be held at the Veterans Hall on H Street starting with dinner at 6 p.m. and a formal recognition ceremony starting at 7 p.m. A retired Army Blackhawk helicopter pilot with recent combat experience, Maj. Aadam Trask, will be this year’s keynote speaker.

The cannon will be fired at the Historical Society at precisely 11 a.m. on Nov. 11 to start the parade. This year, the route will follow H Street from the Veterans Hall to Front Street.

This year’s committee would like to see at least 1,111 American flags waving along the route to help celebrate this year’s unique (11/11/11) Veterans Day. Come join us in honoring the late Bruno de Solenni along with the rest of our local veterans who are neighbors, family and friends.

It is only through their service and sacrifice that we have the freedom that allows us to live free and prosper in this great nation.

John Ging is a local resident and a member of the Veterans Day Committee.