Council to honor WWII veterans

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— The Steamboat Springs City Council will honor World War II veterans tonight as part of a countrywide celebration of the dedication of the National War World II Memorial.

The council is one of thousands of municipalities and governments around the country that have been asked by local veteran organizations to read a proclamation honoring the veterans.

The proclamation declares May 29, 2004, as World War II Veterans Recognition Day and coincides with the dedication of the War World II Memorial in Washington, D.C.

"All citizens are asked to celebrate the contributions and sacrifices of these men and women who placed their lives in harm's way protecting American values and preserving democracy for the world," the proclamation reads.

The proclamation will recognize about 100 World War II veterans who live in Steamboat Springs and another almost 100 veterans who are buried in the Steamboat Springs Cemetery, said Jim Stanko, who is the past commander of the American Legion and a member of Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 44.

"Not everybody can get to Washington, D.C.; this is a national effort to recognize everyone," Stanko said.

The Washington, D.C., memorial will honor the 16 million who served in the Armed Forces during World War II, the more than 400,000 who died and the millions who supported the war effort from home.

Construction of the memorial began in September 2001 and was opened to the public last month. The memorial sits at the east end of the reflecting pool between the Lincoln Memorial and the Washington Monument.

The official dedication ceremony is May 29 in Washington, D.C., but the Steamboat American Legion and VFW will hold their ceremony May 31.

At 11 a.m., the group will hold a ceremony at the Steamboat Cemetery. A plaque will be presented with a list of all the veterans in the cemetery who served in World War II and flags will be placed on veterans' graves. The ceremony also will include the traditional 21-gun salute and the playing of taps.

At 12:30 p.m., World War II veterans will be presented with certificates during a luncheon at the VFW.

Stanko said May 26 is the deadline for letting the American Legion and VFW know of World War II veteran who live in the area that would like to be honored during the ceremony.

To nominate an area veteran, call Post 44 Commander Gar Williams at 879-3732. Veterans in other communities can call their local posts or Routt County Veterans Affairs Officer Michael Condie at 879-3075.

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