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Honoring Our Vets

Editorial for Nov. 19, 2009

The American Legion's Evan Childs Post No. 87, White Salmon, continued its fine tradition of recognizing area veterans with its annual dinner on Veterans Day, Nov. 11.

The event, held at the Elks Lodge in White Salmon, honors local men and women over the decades who have served in the nation's armed forces -- and pays homage, in particular, to the many who have given their lives in defense of the United States.

At the beginning of the evening, White Salmon resident Bill Ward, an Air Force veteran, led a prayer and a moment of silence for those who made the ultimate sacrifice in battle for their country. Ward also asked for a moment of silence to honor the 13 soldiers tragically and incomprehensibly slain at Fort Hood in Texas on Nov. 5.

Post Commander Ed LaMotte, who lives in Underwood and is a veteran of the Vietnam War, later led the presentation of certificates for a number of veterans who have been members of the Evan Childs Post for many years. One man honored this year, Underwood resident Raymond Chevalier, is a World War II veteran who served in the Army. Chevalier has been a continuous member of the post in White Salmon for 60 years.

The men and women who served in World War II have been characterized as "the greatest generation" for the sacrifices they made in defeating the evil of Nazi Germany and stopping the Japanese Empire's brutal expansionism in that dark era. For all their efforts, we owe men like Chevalier more than we can ever express.

And that sentiment applies to all the veterans in the packed Elks Lodge dining room on Nov. 11.

The Elks Lodge also deserves thanks for hosting this event every year. The cooks, those who helped in the kitchen, and the efficient servers once again did an amazing job, and their efforts are sincerely appreciated. Thank you.

On Nov. 10, President Obama spoke at Fort Hood to honor the memory of the victims of the shooting at the base. In one passage, he said something we believe holds true in reference to all of our veterans: "In an age of selfishness, they embody responsibility. In an era of division, they call upon us to come together. In a time of cynicism, they remind us of who we are as Americans ... We need not look to the past for greatness, because it is before our very eyes," he said.

No words are ever enough, but on Veterans Day and always, we thank every veteran -- here and around the nation -- for their noble and brave service on our country's behalf.

JB

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