As of Thursday, November 16, 2017
This story has been updated.
Saturday’s Veterans Day observance at Anderson’s Tribute Center made a particular point about remembering the past but also looking to the future.
“They (veterans) serve us right now, served us in the past, and will serve us in the future,” said Legion Post Two Commander Carl Casey. Several speakers urged people to “pray for those who have yet to die.”
In his closing prayer, Casey asked God to “Help people in all nations to strive to be peacemakers.”
About 75 people, mostly veterans and family members, attended the annual community event, which featured the National Salute — ringing of a bell 21 times to honor those who have served, and a two-minute moment of silence: the first minute for those who have died and the second minute for those who have yet to, stated Casey.
The observance featured Cub and Boy Scouts carrying in the colors and flags of each branch of the U.S. Armed Services, and music by Hood River Valley High School singers, and was followed by a reception hosted by Daughters of the American Revolution, Celilo Chapter.
“Our veterans deserve every bit of honor we can give,” Casey said. “As Post 22 Commander, I realize I was one of the lucky ones, because I didn’t have to suffer. Now we have veterans who are not only dying but also coming home maimed physically and even emotionally, and it is our duty as citizens of this country to really show we care and respect all they have done for us.”
Navy veteran Nick Kirby recited a tribute to the heart, spirit, and dedication of the average American soldier in the essay “Half Boy, Half Man.” It says, in part, “He can march until he is told to stop and stop until he is told to march. But he is not without spirit or individuality or dignity.” Kirby represented Hood River Elks Lodge.
Bob Huskey, Idlewilde Cemetery sexton, gave an invitation to visit the Veterans Walk of Honor at Idlewilde, and a short history of the nation’s observance of Veteran’s Day, known historically as Remembrance Day and formerly Armistice Day in honor of the end of World War I on Nov. 11, 1917. Huskey noted that while it is now a federal holiday recognized by government offices, schools, banks and some businesses, this was not always the case, and it was only in 1938 that Congress declared Nov. 11 an annual holiday.
“The observance has changed over the years but one thing has never changed, as it is about honoring tremendous sacrifices made by our veterans,” Huskey said.
“He has seen more death in his short lifetime than he should have seen in a hundred lifetimes. He has wept in public and private for friends who have died in combat and is unashamed.”
Huskey told the audience, “Whether you first knew it as Veterans Day or as Armistice Day, the observance of Veterans Day is a very special time of the year. It is a time when people of the United States can take a moment to reflect what the service of their friends, family and neighbors means to their lives and the nation as a whole.
“On Nov. 11, citizens are reminded of the heavy price of freedom and how much they owe to the men and women of the nation’s armed forces who have fought bravely in all the nation’s wars,” Huskey said.
Casey recalled his visits to the Vietnam war memorial wall, on behalf of friends and neighbors, and to the World War II memorials in France saying, “As I walked through those rows of crosses, and realized most of those kids died in a three-week period, scaling right up walls with machine guns firing, and yet we won the war.” Casey serves as pastor at Parkdale Nazarene Church.
Anderson’s Jack Trumbull and County Veterans Service Officer Tricia Stevens concluded the event by inviting veterans and family to sign up for remembrance bricks at Overlook Memorial Park (Second and State streets) for living or deceased veterans, or the Idlewilde Walk of Honor, where brass plaques honoring deceased veterans are installed at no charge. For both, the veteran’s DD214 form is required. Contact Stevens Mondays at 601 State St., 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. walk-ins, or call 541-386-1080 and make an appointment.