November 9, 2005
An Odell mother and her adult son are each spending a few moments in the red, white and blue spotlight at Friday’s Veterans Day ceremony.
Arlene Allegre (Buckley) of Odell will stand before the crowd at Overlook Memorial Park shortly after 11 a.m. to sing the National Anthem. Her son, Mike, will take the podium a few minutes later to speak on the value of patriotism and the civic responsibility of citizens (See Veterans groups hold ceremony, breakfast for program details).
“You don’t often get the opportunity to perform with your own family and I think it’s great,” said Arlene, who is looking forward to sharing the moment with her oldest son.
She has always thought it important to honor military personnel for the sacrifices made on her behalf – and for the benefit of her fellow citizens.
For years, Allegre, who was born and raised in the county, has worked to pay her respects as an active member of American Legion Post 22. She has also been asked to share her love of country in song on numerous occasions – some as early as her elementary school years.
“Dad was very patriotic and I can remember him marching me up to the platform during a War Bond rally to sing ‘There’s a Star Spangled Banner Waving Somewhere,’” she said.
Mike also credits his maternal grandfather, Eugene E. Buckley, for teaching him how to properly handle a flag. He said the World War I veteran drilled into him the need to show respect by standing at attention when the flag passed by. The three Allegre children were also told to personally thank anyone wearing the uniform of a defender.
“He was truly from the Greatest Generation and he inspired me to be a better American,” said Allegre. Eventually, he would don an Air Force uniform himself and serve as a law enforcement specialist from 1976 to 1980.
But Allegre did not stow his uniform away when active duty ended. For almost 25 years, he has been a reservist with the 142nd Fighter Wing of the Oregon Air National Guard. He is employed as a public information officer with the state Department of Veterans’ Affairs.
On Nov. 11, Allegre hopes that his words can inspire others to become more active and involved citizens. He wants young people in the audience to gain a better understanding of the high price paid for the freedoms that they enjoy.
Allegre has found it troubling in recent years that many schools and parents don’t seem to place much of an emphasis on civic lessons. For a brief time after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks on the east coast, he saw a strong re-kindling of the American spirit. He believes these flames need to be kept fanned so that every individual sees that he/she also has a role to play in preserving the greatness of America.
“I want this generation to not have to wait for a Sept. 11 event to feel patriotism. And that begins with an understanding that someone has put their life on the line so that others don’t have to. I know that sounds cliché but it’s just plain true,” said Allegre.
Both Mike and his mother are comfortable standing behind a microphone. He works seasonally as a sports broadcaster and has a professional background in communications.
She has performed at numerous and varied events, even once making a television debut that Mike remembers watching with awe.
“I was always proud, as a kid, when I could wear something red, white and blue — and I certainly will be doing that on Friday,” said Arlene. “I love my country and this is a day to show my respect.”