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Veterans Day: Notes on observing Nov. 11, and help for veterans all year round

To say it out loud is uplifting:

“Thank you for your service.”

Try it this Veterans Day or any other time. Say it to give a veteran that lift, and feel it yourself at the same time.

Veterans Day is Wednesday, and falling mid-week it helps define the week as a time to consider the contributions and dedication of the men and women who have served, or are now serving, the United States military. Veterans who donned the uniform in the last 45 years volunteered, and those from earlier generations were drafted or volunteered. All veterans deserve society’s gratitude, whatever the route they took from civilian status to training camp to active service, perhaps even combat or support in combat zones

The Hood River community provides two opportunities Wednesday for veterans to gather and for the public to support them. Elks Lodge 1507, American Legion Post 22 and Safeway will serve a free breakfast to all veterans from 7-10 a.m. at the Elks, 304 Cascade Ave., and the annual Veterans Day community celebration ceremony at Anderson’s Tribute Center, 1401 Belmont Ave., starts at 11 a.m. and features speakers, patriotic music, and recognition of all veterans present, as well as those who cannot be at the event. The community is encouraged to attend this simple and moving service, which will be followed by an informal reception.

Veterans looking for a short, but enjoyable, road trip on Nov. 11 may look no farther than Maryhill Museum, which salutes veterans and active military by offering free admission to both groups every Veterans Day. Also, Maryhill Museum, 35 Maryhill Museum Drive, near Goldendale, Wash., will extend free admission to all firefighters and their families the weekend of Nov. 14-15. In Hood River, WAAAM will also offer free admission to active duty, retirees, and veterans with military ID or proof of service.

There will be no mail delivery on Nov. 11, and all Hood River County Library branches will be closed in honor of Veterans Day, as will Hood River County School District, Horizon Christian School, banks, and government offices.

If you are a veteran or a veteran’s family member, or someone who wants to help veterans on an ongoing basis, there are ways to do this. Last week’s Saturday Spotlight article on Tricia Stevens, Veterans Service Officer for Hood River County, contained an enlightening fact: the Hood River office currently serves veterans as young as 19 (Afghanistan) and as old as 94 (World War II).

And the reality is that not all veterans are taking advantage of the benefits and services available to them.

“I would encourage every veteran to make an appointment to come in and meet the VSO, (and) explore benefits that may be available, such as National Park passes or compensation for service-related injuries,” Stevens said. “I feel it is very important to know what benefits are available to you as a veteran — that way, if you need them, they can be there.”

Stevens is also looking for volunteers to help out at the VSO, which is located in the county office building, 601 State Street. Stevens is available at the Veterans Office Monday through Thursday, from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m., with appointments available Monday through Wednesday.

Veterans can contact Stevens at 541-386-1080, or email veterans@co.hood-river.or.us. The office also has a Facebook page: www.facebook.com/HRCVSO.



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