Friday, Nov. 10 — For 98 years, Americans have remembered those who served our country in uniform on Nov. 11, first as Armistice Day, and then, since 1954, as Veterans Day. In this 99th year of commemoration, the Department of Veterans Affairs is broadening that tradition of observance and appreciation to include both Veterans and Military Families for the entire month of November.
In a proclamation dated Nov. 1, U.S. President Donald Trump said, “During National Veterans and Military Families Month, we honor the significant contributions made by American service members, their families and their loved ones. We set aside this month surrounding Veterans Day to hold observances around the country to honor and thank those whose service and sacrifice represent the very best of America. We renew our Nation’s commitment to support veterans and military families. They deserve it.”
In Florence, the community gathers for several events to thank veterans and honor their service.
The public is invited to the Florence Elks Lodge, 1686 12th St., from 9 to 11a.m. on Saturday to hear a short presentation and enjoy a musical salute to all U.S. military branches. Members of the U.S. Coast Guard Station Siuslaw River will present the colors.
Then, at 2 p.m., Florence Veteran’s Day Parade organizers invite the community to join them in honoring the service and sacrifice of U.S. Armed Forces members and veterans during the annual Veterans Day Parade.
The 2017 Grand Marshals are Korean War Veterans.
The Korean War is often referred to as “The Forgotten War.”
Parade organizers said, “We make a pledge that these veterans will be forgotten no more. We will have them up front to take the first salutes and cheers of our crowds. We have much to thank them for and for this reason above the rest, we salute our Korean War veterans.”
Great viewing locations for the parade include Harbor Street, the Port of Siuslaw parking lot and Historic Old Town Florence, especially Bay Street.
Tributes and treats for veterans will be available at the Veteran’s Memorial Park on Bay Street at the end of the parade.
After the parade concludes, Spruce Point Assisted Living, 375 Ninth St., is hosting a Veterans Day Social from 4 to 5 p.m. People are encouraged to come meet some of the assisted living’s veterans and enjoy light refreshments. For more information, call 541-997-6111.
In addition, local businesses may be offering Veterans Day specials to veterans and active military members. The U.S. Forest Service will even waive fees at day-use recreation sites in Oregon and Washington, including the Siuslaw National Forest, on Saturday and Sunday in honor of Veterans Day.
“Our veterans have bravely and proudly carried the burden of defending this country by their honorable service during war and peacetime. And for that, there are no words to express our gratitude,” Florence Veterans Day Parade organizers said. “Soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines and the Coast Guard have all given their time, and many times their lives, to protect our freedoms. They answered the call when our nation needed them most. And now they deserve our honor and respect.”
The president concluded his proclamation by saying, “I encourage all communities, all sectors of society and all Americans to acknowledge and honor the service, sacrifices and contributions of veterans and military families for what they have done and for what they do every day to support our great Nation.”