Wed, April 08

Patriotism contagious this Veterans Day

Principal Eddie Mosier led Thursday's Veterans Day Program at the Camp Verde Middle School. Mosier was a Green Beret in the U. S. Army 5th Special Forces Group Airborne. He served 13 months in Viet Nam between 1963-64 performing nine parachute jumps. Mosier said this marks the third year for the Veterans' program at the school honoring those who has served, those fallen and those currently in the service.

Like millions of Americans, Commander Terry Castleberry of the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post #6739, knows things have changed.

But on Sunday, like every Veterans Day, a color guard will present all military services at the Tomb of the Unknowns in Arlington National Cemetery A bugler will play taps and the presidential wreath will be placed in memory and as our national tribute.

This weekend in the Verde Valley we also remember.

Both Cottonwood and Camp Verde members of the Veterans of Foreign Wars will sell Buddy Poppies at local stores, banks and the Camp Verde Post Office. The hand-assembled poppy, adopted as the official memorial flower of the VFW in 1922, is created as a tribute to comrades who never returned from war or who were scarred or crippled for life.

For some, Veteran's Day is not only a time to remember those who've given their lives for freedom, but also a chance to pay tribute to those who lost their lives because of it.

"This will be especially poignant this year since we must remember those who died Sept. 11 in the attack on our country," says a spokesman for the Camp Verde VFW.

The first memorial takes place at the Middle Creek Cemetery on Nov. 11 at 9 a.m. with the second at Clear Creek Cemetery beginning at 10:30 a.m. Both services include the raising of the flag, prayers and remembrance.

"It's just in remembrance of veterans that have fallen while in service," said American Legion executive board member John Barnard. "It's our way of showing respect for them and for those still serving and those who have fallen."

VFW Post #7400 in Cottonwood will conduct a flag raising beginning at 11 a.m. followed by a potluck and social hour. The organization's Honor Guard and members are then scheduled to then proceed to Mingus Union High School for the patriotic program presented by the Southwest Brass at 3 p.m.

The Camp Verde VFW and the American Legion are also sponsoring luncheons following the services at Middle Verde and Clear Creek Cemeteries, both open to the public.

The American Legion Post #25 in Cottonwood is having a Membership Roster Rally from 2 to 6 p.m. featuring live music and an Alaskan King Crab dinner.

"Any American military veterans, who do not currently belong to the world's largest veterans' organization are more than welcome at our post," says Claudia Stephens of the Legion.

On Saturday, the Jerome Elks Lodge is sponsoring a Veteran's Dinner Dance with live music from 7 to 11 p.m. in Clarkdale. Late Sunday afternoon, a retreat service is scheduled for 4 p.m. at the Fort Verde State Park.

Some say Sept 11 has changed Veteran's Day. "America's new war against terrorists will make veterans of thousands more young people," said Secretary of Veteran's Affairs Anthony J. Prinicpi.

But for soldiers like Don Finney, Nov. 11 has always been a day of devout patriotism.

"Others may be more aware because of the attack on the World Trade Center," says the Cottonwood VFW Commander. " But us veterans have felt this way all along."

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