Veterans Day event timely

The Oak Harbor Area Council of the Navy League is to be congratulated for its effort to make Veterans Day a special holiday in Oak Harbor.

Veterans Day activities in the city have been sporadic over the years, with no regularly scheduled event to honor the men and women who have served in the U.S. military. The schools have done a good job of recognizing Veterans Day and steeping students in its significance, but a community-wide effort has often been lacking.

In response, the the Navy League has stepped in to offer a Veterans Day event Friday, Nov. 11 at 11 a.m. at the Elks Club at 155 N.E. Ernst St. The program will feature speakers who will relate their experiences in World War II and the Vietnam War.

Veterans Day has its roots in World War I, after which the nation adopted Armistice Day as a holiday to remember veterans from the Great War. After two other major conflicts followed with World War II and the Korean War, the name was changed to Veterans Day to honor all veterans. However, the timing remains the same — the eleventh day of the eleventh month, with ceremonies set for the eleventh hour to coincide with the signing of the World War I Armistice.

No doubt special comments will be made Friday to note the sacrifices being made today by the men and women of the U.S. Navy and our other armed forces who aren’t quite veterans yet because they’re still in the active military. But it’s imperative that their sacrifices be honored today, for their recognition has been too slight.

One such sacrifice was made by Petty Officer 1st Class John Coulter, who was recently presented the Purple Heart in a ceremony at the Whidbey Island Naval Air Station. A member of Explosive Ordnance Disposal Mobile Unit 11 Detachment Seven, Coulter was shot in the leg in Iraq while on a bomb disposal mission.

Coulter’s on-base ceremony was well deserved, but a wider community recognition is needed for him and the thousands of other Americans who have volunteered to risk their lives in the War on Terror, and the millions of other Americans who have fought various other forms of tyranny over the decades and centuries.

The Navy League is providing the opportunity to show your appreciation. The least you can do is take a few minutes to attend Friday’s event at the Elks Lodge. Hopefully, it will be the first of many such events held every Veterans Day in Oak Harbor.

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