Veteran's Day 2010:
An Interview with 3 Area Veterans
It's about remembrance, because the thousands of men and woman who have served in this country's military cannot be forgotten. In November 1919, President Wilson proclaimed November 11 as the first commemoration of Armistice Day (now Veterans Day) with the following words: “To us in America, the reflections of Armistice Day will be filled with solemn pride in the heroism of those who died in the country's service and with gratitude for the victory, both because of the thing from which it has freed us and because of the opportunity it has given America to show her sympathy with peace and justice in the councils of the nations…”
November 11 was originally commemorated as a day to celebrate the end of World War I or “The Great War.” The celebration was a day observed with parades, public meetings and a brief suspension of business beginning at 11:00 a.m. In 1938, November 11 or Armistice Day, was recognized by Congress as a legal holiday. The date became a day dedicated toward the cause of world peace. But conflict continued.
American involvement in Korea once again placed the national spotlight on veterans. The soldiers stationed at home and those out of active duty mobilized, and fought to change the word “Armistice” and into the word “Veterans.” Congress passed the approval and by June of 1954, November 11 became Veterans Day, a day to honor American veterans of all wars.
A Veterans Point of View
“I was born with a gun in my hand,” John Woods says. “I wanted to get on a machine gun of some sort and I finally made it there. I had a good run of 12 years.” Woods joined the Navy because he wanted to follow in his father's footsteps. He was a gunners mate on a destroyer ship, and went through two wars (World War II and Korean War) without a scratch. Woods left the Navy just before the Vietnam War and settled down with his wife and kids. In 1972, he later went on to join the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW).
“I just really love my country,” Woods says. “To me, Veterans Day is showing that our country still cares and appreciates what the veterans have done, because the ones that come back are really lucky. This day means an awful lot to me. I'm very proud to be a veteran.”
Roger Fleishour joined the Navy in 1965 because of the opportunities it presented him, and to honor the legacy of his fellow family members. He volunteered as a corpsman with the knowledge he was headed to Vietnam. “It was just something that I wanted to do,” Fleishour says. “I was stationed there for 12 months during the year of the 10 big offensives.”
Following a surprise phone call from his mother on the battlefield (his mother had a friend who pulled some strings at the telephone company), Fleishour left the Navy in 1969. He moved back to Washington in 1972 and became active with the Deer Park VFW.
Deer Park Veterans of Foreign Wars
The VFW is a national organization chartered by Congress. The purpose of the organization is to preserve the comradeship amongst its members, to assist the families, widows and orphans, and to perpetuate the memory and history of fallen veterans. The Deer Park Post, number 3067, has been in existence approximately 35 years and currently has 265 members.
“Our big goal at the Deer Park VFW is about community service,” says Mike Wagner. “We have education programs in the schools, scholarship programs and we try to support all the little organizations.”
In addition to their youth education programs, the Deer Park VFW sponsors youth soccer teams, summer softball teams, little league and local Boy Scout Troops. The post also provides hospital equipment – walkers, canes and wheelchairs – to all elderly members throughout the community. The veterans are currently working with Avista Utilities to install a memorial at Bluebird Park.
“The Deer Park VFW is a small but pretty unified little post,” Wagner says. “The post as a physical address is there for our members and to accomplish our projects that we support. The more we educate the public, the more folks we'll have willing to help accomplish our goals.”
Veterans Day Events
Make this year's Veterans Day a day unlike any other. Give remembrance to those who have served, those who have fallen, and those who are currently on duty. Here's a small list of local events happening this Veterans Day.
Spokane Veterans Memorial Arena • Veterans Day Ceremony • Thursday, Nov. 11,
doors open at 9am, ceremony beings at 10am • free admission and parking
American Legion Post 143 • Women Veterans Recognition Day • Friday, Nov. 12,
10a-4pm • 1138 E. Poleline Ave. Post Falls, Idaho
Catholic Military Veterans • Veterans Honoring Veterans • Thursday, Nov. 11,
11am • St. Thomas Cemetery on Sherman Avenue in Coeur d'Alene
American Legion Post 47 • Veterans Day Ceremony • Thursday, Nov. 11,
11am • Stevens County Court House , Colville
Eleventh Day, Twelfh Hour • Spokane Veterans for Peace and supporters will gather at Noon on November 11th, at the Vietnam Veteran Statue, uphill and north of the Lilac Bowl. There will be reflections on Armistice Day and open mic commentary on the veteran's place in our community, followed by a memorial procession to another part of the park. • Thursday, November 11• Noon • Riverfront Park, Spokane, WA