The Orcas Island Post of the American Legion invites the public to attend ceremonies in observance of Veterans Day on Nov. 11 at 11 a.m. at the Post Hall on Crescent Beach Road.
The ceremony will include a military salute to past comrades and speeches from the Post Commander, Vice-Commander, Auxiliary representative, veteran Carol Clark, Chaplain and other officers of the post. The closing ceremony will include a song sung by Janice Ghazel.
Dick Boberg, Post Chaplain and recent membership chair, says that the Orcas Island Post currently has 160 members who have all served in the military service.
The Post also has an Auxiliary Chapter for wives, widows and relatives, and a Sons membership for the families of veterans.
Event organizer Larry Everett says that the ceremony on Nov. 11 is “generally speaking, for vets, families and relatives. They understand why we’re doing this – it’s a reminder as a salute to veterans as to why we remember them.”
A slightly abbreviated ceremony will be performed earlier, at Orcas High School at the request of Superintendent/High School Principal Barbara Kline. That observance will be Thursday, Nov. 6 at 9:30 a.m. at the high school gym. Everett says the ceremony will include the history of Veteran’s Day, which started out as the Armistice (temporary cessation of hostilities) ending World War I at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month, in 1918.
The following year, President Woodrow Wilson declared the day “Armistice Day” and announced “the reflections 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 has 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…” The original concept for the celebration was for the suspension of business for a two-minute period beginning at 11 a.m., with the day also marked by parades and public mettings.
In 1938, November 11 was named by Congress as a legal Federal holiday, Armistice Day. In 1954, President Dwight D. Eisenhower changed the name to Veterans’ Day, to honor veterans of all wars. From 1971 to 1975, Veteran’s Day was observed on the fourth Monday of October, but according to Everett, the Legion “raised Cain,” because that date had no meaning for them.”
In 1978, the date was changed back to Nov. 11, which falls on a Tuesday this year.
Everett says the Orcas post tries to vary the ceremony from year to year without changing its meaning, but “commemorating all vets back to the Revolutionary War.”
The American Legion Club manager Judi Resch says, “It would be really nice, considering the state the world is in, if we had a really good turnout.”
For further information, contact Everett at 376-6104.