In honor of veterans

Veterans Day events remember men, women of the armed forces

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Recurring event

Veterans Day Breakfast

  • Veterans of Foreign Wars, 924 Lincoln Avenue, Steamboat Springs
  • All ages / Free

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Recurring event

Veterans Day at the Doak

  • Veterans of Foreign Wars, 924 Lincoln Avenue, Steamboat Springs
  • All ages / Free

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Recurring event

Veterans Day Dinner

  • Veterans of Foreign Wars, 924 Lincoln Avenue, Steamboat Springs
  • All ages / $10

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War veterans attending Soda Creek Elementary SchoolÕs fifth graders Veterans Day program last year were touched by the presentation of the armed forces flags and singing in remembrance of men and women who fought in previous and current wars.

— There's an old saying in the military that once you take off your uniform, someone else puts it on, Jim Stanko said.

Veterans Day is a chance for Stanko, who is the district commander for the American Legion and post adjutant for post 4264 and American post 44, to get to know some of the people who wore that uniform before and after his service in the Army during the Vietnam War. Veterans Day is Saturday, Nov. 11.

"It's a special day set aside to thank all of those who served honorably in the military, in wartime or peacetime," Stanko said. "Veterans Day is largely intended to thank living veterans for their service and to acknowledge that their contributions to our national security are appreciated."

Veterans' Day activities start with breakfast at 6:15 a.m. at the Veterans of Foreign Wars, and will be served until 9 a.m. Veterans interested in signing up for veterans' health insurance should bring DD214 and the other forms will be provided.

Veterans are strongly encouraged to attend a special program developed in their honor at Soda Creek Elementary School. The presentation begins at 9 a.m. Wednesday, but veterans are encouraged to arrive 15 minutes early to sign in.

This is the second year the fifth graders have paid tribute to veterans under the direction of teacher Amy Larson.

"These kids do a great job of saluting the services and I think it's a great way for the veterans to mix with the kids and show a little patriotism," Stanko said. "The Vietnam vets especially appreciate what the kids did because they didn't get the kind of homecoming people get now, and it helps get a little bit of closure for them."

The children will sing and sign songs, do readings and present the poem, "In Flanders Field," by Dr. John McKay.

"He wrote it about World War II," Larson said. "In the poem he says that he hopes we never forget the sacrifices of veterans. It is a really poignant part of the program."

Some of the children made up choreography to go with the performance and others will speak about the things they are grateful for. There will also be a special cake in this year's program to celebrate the Marine's birthday, Larson said.

The children will also make posters about their family members who have served in the military.

"This has been a great family connection for some of these kids," Larson said. "Many have called their grandparents who send them pictures and they get to engage in a lot of conversation about the history of their family."

There will be an opportunity for anyone to have coffee and visit with the resident veterans at the Doak Walker Care Center on Saturday as well. Interested parties should meet at the VFW at 10:30 a.m.

"It's a chance to get to know them, talk about their war experiences and swap stories," Stanko said. "Most of them that are up there are WWII veterans, some are from the Korean conflict and there are two women, one that I know was in the Navy."

Visiting with those veterans is not only a chance to learn about what they did in the war, but also to know what they did as civilians after the war - especially the WWII veterans, Stanko said.

"We are losing those guys at about over 10,000 a day worldwide. And it was the WWII generation who were the ones that built this country."

There will be a dinner for any veteran, post member and their families and guests at the VFW at 7 p.m. Cocktail hour begins at 6 p.m. Because of limited seating, people need to RSVP to the VFW at 879-9959 or to Stanko at 879-3936.

For Stanko, all of the events on Veterans Day are a way to rekindle old memories.

"It's one of the few times in the year to get together with kids of my era to sit around and talk," he said. "The WWII generation - they are the people I grew up knowing not only what they did for the military and community, but it is a chance for me to really show them that I appreciate them. Gosh, those guys really did do something for us."

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