Friday’s the day to say four words

A day of great commemoration will be taking place Friday, when Veterans Day services will be held in many villages, cities and counties.

Putting into effect a time to honor veterans of the past and present will be observed for many on the 11th hour, 11th day and 11th month. Those who find it hard to do at that honored hour will hold the ceremonies later, but all will be meaningful nevertheless.

President Woodrow Wilson, the 28th president, was the first to sign into effect the observation of what was then known as Armistice Day on Nov. 11, 1918.

Almost 100 years later, the Gilbert Koontz Post 525 Adena American Legion became a commemorative partner in the 50th anniversary of the Vietnam War, holding a service of significance for area Vietnam veterans, along with those of all wars at the Adena Heritage Days Festival. Roger Sliva, past commander, was in charge of the touching program.

Many restaurants are honoring veterans and active duty military with a meal. This is a wonderful gesture to serve a veteran who has served his country. Just a small way of saying “thanks for serving.”

We were all respectful but saddened to see U.S. flags at half-staff after the 9-11 disaster. The American Legion magazine reports that the Barrack Obama presidency had the most situations to have flags flown at half-staff — 66 times. George Bush was next with 58; Bill Clinton, 50; George H.W. Bush, eight; Ronald Regan, 20; Jimmy Carter, 10; Gerald R. Ford, five; Richard M. Nixon, 16; Lyndon B. Johnson, nine; John F. Kennedy, three; and Dwight D. Eisenhower, 12.

The Legion magazine tells of U.S. pole vaulter Sam Kendricks, 23, stopping in the middle of his run and standing at attention when the national anthem played during Olympic competition. He is a second lieutenant in the Army Reserve, one of 18 U.S. athletes serving in the military who were in Rio de Janiero. Sam’s father, Scott, served in the Marines and was his coach.

A soldier’s pay in the Revolutionary War was $6 a month for privates in 1776. George Washington’s salary might have been a bit more, but he is the one with an embossed head symbol on the nation’s oldest war decoration — the Purple Heart.

It is awarded in the name of the president of the United States to members of the Armed Forces who are wounded in conflict with an enemy force or while held by an enemy force as a prisoner of war. They also are awarded posthumously to the next of kin for members of the Armed Forces who are killed in conflict with an enemy force or who die of a wound received in conflict with an enemy force.

William Sanders of Cadiz will be presented a Purple Heart at 11 a.m Friday at the Harrison County Courthouse. He has been a family friend since the early 1960s, and it is great to see that service to his country is being rewarded.

To all high school junior boys who were selected by their local American Legion post to attend Boys State over the years, you might be surprised to know that it celebrated its 70th anniversary in July. The Boys State committee is ever preparing high school boys for participation in the government process.

It is interesting to hear reports on the week-long event when the Piney Fork American Legion Post 735 invites the senior-to-be boys to come back and speak on their adventures and learning experiences.

I hope I have sparked your interest in attending a veterans service on Veterans Day or just telling an aged veteran or a young man home on leave the four words that mean so much “Thank you for serving.”

(McCoy, a resident of Smithfield, is a staff columnist and food editor for the Herald-Star and The Weirton Daily Times. She can be contacted at emccoy@heraldstaronline.com.)

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