Hood River County residents are invited to pay their respects to America’s veterans by attending a ceremony in their honor on Monday.
“Veteran’s Day is the day that citizens of all ages should set aside to thank and honor all those who have served honorably in the military — in wartime or peacetime,” said Linda Adams, veteran service officer for Hood River, Wasco, Sherman, Gilliam and Wheeler counties.
Hood River will pay tribute to area veterans at 11 a.m. in Overlook Memorial Park, located at the intersection of Second and State Streets. At 10:30 a.m., John Phillips, a Vietnan-era Navy veteran, takes the wheel for Columbia Area Transit’s free shuttle service to the downtown site from American Legion Post. No. 22, where a breakfast will be served that morning.
Special recognition will be given at the ceremony to members of the Legion and Hood River’s Veterans of Foreign Wars Post No. 1479 and Post No. 6987 of Parkdale. Several area Boy Scout Troops will also attend.
“For families, this is a great opportunity to allow your children to focus attention on the importance and significance of our veterans,” said Adams. “Hopefully, the observance of this ceremony will contribute to their increased pride and patriotism of our county.”
Keith Doroski, a Gulf War veteran with the U.S. Air Force and former Legion commander, takes on the role of master of ceremonies and opens the program with the Pledge of Allegiance.
The 142nd Fighter Interceptor group from the Oregon Air National Guard will execute a low-level flyover and Eagle Scout Matthew Kirby from Boy Scout Troop 378 sings the National Anthem. The 13-year-old previously performed The Star Spangled Banner in front of a 15,000 member audience at a “Scout-Rageous” event.
The invocation for the ceremony will be given by Pastor Michael Harrington of Mt. View Baptist Church. Harrington has led the Hood River church for the past seven years and joins missionaries in the Philippines every two years to distribute medicine and clothes to the needy. For the past four years he has also held the position of chef for the Hood River Valley Adult Center.
News government reporter RaeLynn Gill next takes the podium as keynote speaker to share her experiences as a “Marine Mom.” Her remarks will address the patriotic spirit which created America and the personal sacrifices incurred by military men and women to protect and preserve that rich heritage.
Following Gill’s remarks, a rifle salute will be given by members of the Oregon National Guard based in Hood River. These individuals include Staff Sergeant Robert Shartel, Sergeant Michael Frizzeli, Corporal Jack Smith and Specialist Joshua Bielemeier.
The ceremony will close with Taps played by William Thompson, an Army veteran from the Korea war era who performed for troops during his military tour of duty.
On June 1, 1954, Nov. 11 was established to honor American veterans of all wars for their patriotism, love of country and willingness to serve and sacrifice for the common good.
“It is my earnest hope that all veterans, their organizations and the entire citizenry will join hands to insure proper and widespread observance of this day,” wrote President Dwight E. Eisenhower in a letter to the Administrator of Veterans’ Affairs after signing the first official Veteran’s Day proclamation on Oct. 8 of that same year.