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Service, events scheduled for veterans

By Staff | Nov 5, 2010

The eleventh hour, of the eleventh day, of the eleventh month is the time that Germany signed the Armistice, ending WWI in 1918. U.S. President Woodrow Wilson first proclaimed an Armistice Day for Nov. 11, 1919.

In proclaiming the holiday he said, “To us in America, the reflection of Armistice Day will be filled with solemn pride in the heroism of those who died in the country’s service and with gratitude for the victory, both because of the thing from which it freed us and because of the opportunity it has given America to show her sympathy with peace and justice in the councils of the nations.”

Locally, a service will be held at the Veterans Memorial Park in Charles Town. The service starting at 11 a.m. will include a presentation of colors, the National Anthem sung by the Charles Town Middle School choir, a presentation of the wreath, followed by Taps performed by the Jefferson High School Junior ROTC. Del. John Doyle will be the speaker.

Complimentary soup and country ham sandwiches will be served at the Charles Town Legion, 225 W. Washington St., following the service.

Small red poppies are worn on lapels all over the world on Nov. 11. This tradition was inspired by the famous poem written by a battle weary surgeon, Lt. Col. John McCrae who had just finished 17 days under heavy fire in a field hospital.

Veterans’ Day brings back fond memories for Mike Austin, President of the Shepherdstown Men’s Club. As he reflects on his life he feels a great sense of satisfaction from his navy career.

“The military has a great way of giving men a sense of belonging, being an integral part of your team. I remember many funny antics that we got up to boost morale.”

A local prison has a veterans group. Austin has been invited to come and share Veterans’ Day with them. He looks forward to swapping stories and rekindling some morale.

The Shepherdstown Men’s Club meets in the War Memorial Building. There is a brass plaque on the front of the building. Austin would like to try and contact some of the family members of those named on the plaque and he would like to update it to include the recent wars.

“There have been many changes to the military since the end of the Cold War. More personnel from the reserves and guard are seeing active duty. Veterans’ Day services need to reflect their contributions also,” Austin said.

Jefferson High School will be honoring one of their alumni at tonight’s football game. Eli Tice was injured during his service and had to have his leg amputated. Tice will receive his old football jersey as a sign of gratitude. All veterans are admitted to the game for free tonight.

JHS was also selected to participate in a statewide program called “Take a Veteran to School Day.”

Sen. Jay Rockefeller announced that this program, now in its third year, captures and preserves the veterans’ real-life experiences.

Participating West Virginia veterans’ oral histories will be archived in the Library of Congress’ collections. Students from the West Virginia University School of Journalism and Concord University will work with the high school students to catalog the veterans’ stories. This program is taking place from Nov. 8 through 16.

On Nov. 8 five local WWII veterans will be at the school. Reporters will ask them questions and have them recall their experiences. Students will also be allowed to ask questions. A&E History channel will be on hand to record everything.

The participating veterans are:

Dr. Bernie Wayne Knott, Vietnam and Assistant Principal

Douglas Fargo, WWII and Korea

Cyril Kammeier, Vietnam

Phillip A. Suydam, Iraqi Freedom

Lesa Dutra, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia

For more information or to view photos visit www.veteransinwv.com

Veterans are invited to come by the Charles Town Auto Wash for a complimentary exterior wash between 9 a.m. and 6 p.m. They believe it is important to remember those who have served our country. The Charles Town Auto Wash is located in the Jefferson Crossing shopping center, across from Hollywood Casino.