Thanks, Veterans: Nov. 11 is a day of honoring

Nov. 11 is a revered date in American and world history: It serves as this nation’s official day to honor veterans and is the date recognized as marking the end of World War I.

This year is the centenary of that landmark day. Gathering in Europe to remember and pay homage are veterans and representatives of nations who fought in “The Great War,” as it was for a time known.

In Hood River, the Veterans Day list of events is, suitably, far longer than most years. (See page A3 for details.)

Anderson’s Tribute Center will host its annual Veterans Day observance on Sunday, Nov. 11 at 1 p.m.

On Nov. 10 starting at 8 a.m., there will be a free breakfast at the Hood River Elks No. 1507. This annual event is being held a day earlier than in past years. Donations will be accepted and there will be a raffle, with proceeds going to help local veterans.

The Parkdale Grange will host a breakfast from 7:30-11:30 a.m. on Nov. 11.

Maryhill Museum of Art, located in Goldendale, will hold a 100th Anniversary of Armistice Day on Sunday, Nov. 11 from 9:30-11:30 a.m.

The event will feature World War I-era music and poetry. Veterans are encouraged to attend and wear medals and decorations.

There will be free museum admission for those attending the event.

Finally, the USDA Forest Service is waiving fees at day-use recreation sites in Oregon and Washington Nov. 10-11 in honor of Veterans Day.

In the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area, this includes Bridge of the Gods Trailhead, Dog Mountain Trailhead, Eagle Creek Day Use Area (note, however, that nearby trails are closed), Herman Creek Trailhead, Bonneville Trailhead, Sam’s Walker Picnic Site and St. Cloud Picnic Site.

Getting out in nature is a great way to honor the people who have served our country.

Veterans Day is an authorized United States community holiday, held annually on Nov. 11, that honors armed veterans and people who helped in the United States Armed Forces. It accords with other holidays, counting Armistice Day and Remembrance Day, famous in other republics that mark the birthday of the end of World War I; main hostilities of World War I were officially over at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918, once the Truce with Germany went into result. Once known as Armistice Day, the U.S. holiday was retitled Veterans Day in 1954.

The significance of Veterans Day is forged in the sacrifices from Lexington to present day; the record is a long one, and getting longer. We give deep thanks to all who have served, especially those who gave the ultimate sacrifice, and urge our nation’s leaders to band together and restore the funding and institutional support veterans deserve, yet are often severely denied. Veterans today are deployed, or poised for deployment, to “war zones” that have existed practically as long as our youngest current members of the military have been alive. They, too, are veterans. The reasons for soldiers remaining in places such as Iraq and Afghanistan are complex, but the numbers speak for themselves: 2,372 U.S. military deaths in the War in Afghanistan, and 20,320 American service members have also been wounded in action. And those figures do not necessarily reflect the men and women who were mentally and emotionally traumatized in the course of their service.

To continue underserving veterans while “celebrating” Veterans Day is akin to hypocrisy when it comes to those whose responsibility it is to care for veterans and their families. We need to bring them home, and we need to fully care for them.

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