Jon Johnson File Photo/Gila Herald: The Gila Valley Honor Guard stands at attention at the beginning of the Gila Valley Veterans Day celebration last year.
All are invited to American Legion Hall in Clifton
By Walt Mares
Attention on deck! Attention on deck!
So goes the order for sailors when they are aboard ship in the good old U.S. Navy. Skip the “on deck” part and listen up for the attention part of the order.
Actually, it is not an order but an invitation to all U.S. military veterans in Greenlee County.
Pay attention to the invitation being extended for a meal at American Legion Post 28 at the Legion Hall in Clifton. There is no cost. The hall is located at the intersection of U.S. 191 and Zorrilla St. adjacent to the San Francisco River and the Zorrilla Street Bridge.
The meal is being provided as a celebration of Veterans Day, Wednesday, Nov. 11. Meals will be served from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. Veterans Day is a national holiday that honors all who have served in the U.S. military, be it in combat or non-combat.
“There are many veterans in Greenlee County and we welcome them to join us,” said Post 28’s Larry Avila, who is a Vietnam War veteran. “Every vet should be honored, all men and women who have served their country. It’s the least we can do to have a good meal and be among fellow vets.”
In the U.S., the day set aside to honor veterans began in 1938. Why Nov. 11? World War I was ended by the signing of the Treaty of Versailles. It was signed on 11-11-11, that is at the 11h hour, the 11th day of the 11th month. The treaty, an armistice, involving the U.S., France, England, and Germany was signed aboard a railroad car in Versailles, France. There were 116,000 American soldiers killed in what at the time was known as “The war to end all wars.” At that time the world had never seen such a tremendous amount of fighting and killing.
Then came the advent of World War II in 1939 and the follow-up involvement of Americans in December 1941. That war cost 405,399 American lives.
The first world war involved countries in Europe while World War II took place globally, in Europe, the Mediterranean countries, North Africa, and the Pacific countries, including Asia – Japan and China.
“I know we don’t have any World War I veterans living but fortunately we still have a few vets from WW II and the Korean War. Most of the veterans remaining from the Vietnam War are now in their 70s. They’re pushing it age-wise. Thankfully, there are many younger veterans from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.”
Avila said, “Again, we hope for a good turnout and let veterans know they are honored and appreciated. We welcome all vets to join us.”
Veterans Day was initially known as Armistice Day. Its name was changed in the 1950s to Veterans Day by President Dwight Eisenhower, who was himself a World War II veteran.