Veterans Day celebrations abound

Veterans Day is drawing near and the Oak Harbor community is sure to host a day filled with ceremonies of celebration and recognition for the men and women who’ve served, and who continue to protect our nation’s freedom.

Eight members of the Oak Harbor Lions Club will be out in the early morning Nov. 11, lining the streets with 325 American flags starting at 7 a.m. The tradition is in its 24th year, said club president Tom Bond, a 16-year Lions Club member and retired marine. Each flag is sponsored by a business or individual and goes up around town 12 times each year, he said.

At 10 a.m., a brief, 15-minute flag raising ceremony will take place at Gateway Park, on the corner of Highway 20 and Ault Field Road. Capt. Gerral David will speak on behalf of Whidbey Island Naval Air Station and Beth Munns will make several remarks for the city of Oak Harbor. This event will be the first flag raising ceremony to take place at the newly installed flag pole, which was a result of a partnership between the Intruder Association, the Navy base and various community organizations.

The Oak Harbor Area Council, Navy Leave of the United States, will sponsor a Veterans Day program, “Honoring our Nation’s Heroes,” Nov. 11 at the Oak Harbor Elks Lodge from 11 a.m. to noon. This year the keynote address that, which is historically given by a veteran, will be given by active duty Capt. Nathan A. Smith of the U.S. Marine Corps, Platoon Commander, Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Smith was chosen to shed light on the new veterans coming home from Iraq and elsewhere, and to raise awareness of their contributions that keep us safe and help others in need, said Munns.

The town of Coupeville will observe Veterans Day with a short program at noon at the foot of the flag pole at the Veterans Plaza near the courthouse. Members of the Central Whidbey Lions Club will present flags for each branch of the service and Coupeville Mayor Nancy Conard will make a few brief remarks. The colors will be retired at 5 p.m. that day.

Applebee’s Neighborhood Grill & Bar will honor all U.S. veterans and active duty military on Veterans Day with a free lunch or dinner from a selection of six offerings. Last year the Oak Harbor Applebee’s served 735 veterans, and this year the restaurant expects even more, said bar manager Ed Berg.

“We were rockin’ it out,” he said of last year’s event, which kept the Applebees staff busy throughout the day. Dozens of people have already asked if the offer is good again this year, he said.

The restaurant will offer free meals to veterans and active duty with proof of current or former military service, including U.S. Uniform Services Identification Card, U.S. Uniform Services Retired Identification Card, Current Leave and Earnings Statement, Veterans Organization Card, photograph in uniform, or wearing uniform.

Veterans Celebrations

• Oak Harbor Middle School “Veterans Recognition Day,” Tuesday, Nov. 10, 1:30 p.m., 150 Sixth Ave., Oak Harbor.

• Flag Raising Ceremony, Gateway Park, Wednesday, Nov. 11, 10 a.m., Highway 20 and Ault Field Road.

• “Honoring our Nation’s Heroes,” Wednesday, Nov. 11, 11 a.m., Oak Harbor Elks Lodge, 155 NE Ernst St.

• Town of Coupeville ceremony, Wednesday, Nov. 11, noon, Veteran’s Plaza Flagpole at the courthouse.

• Applebee’s Neighborhood Grill & Bar, Wednesday, Nov. 11, 11 a.m. to midnight,, 31810 Highway 20

• Flying Heritage Collection, 3407 109th St. SW, Everett, Admission is free for veterans. Visit 877-342-3404.

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