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Local Veterans honored while telling their story

Members of the Michigan Minuteman Platoon fire a salute to veterans outside of the Orion Center Monday night in observance of Veteran's Day. Dan Shriner. (click for larger version)
November 13, 2013 - By Dan Shriner

Review Editor

Orion area veterans and officials honored those on Monday night who have served in the nation's wars.

But, they also asked that everyone remembers those who served and continue to serve each day of each year.

The observance of Veteran's Day brought about 100 people into the Orion Center after inclement weather moved the observance from the Orion Veteran's Memorial.

Several veterans and others spoke about the meaning of the day for them and the meaning of service to the United States for soldiers have given so much for freedom.

There were soldiers attending the event who served, including 89-year-old Joseph Zikewich, who fought in World War II. Other veterans at the event fought in Korea, Vietnam, Iraq and other conflicts. Several spoke of the importance of remembering those who serve.

"That's our calling, that's why we're here," said Randy Stetson, senior vice commander of VFW Post 334. "That's why we are called veterans."

Veteran's Day, was originally called Armistice Day because on November 11, 1918, it marked the end of World War I, with the signing of an armistice between the allies and Germany. In 1954 the name was changed to Veteran's Day and it became an opportunity to honor all veterans, including those who continue to serve.

The names of Orion area veterans who have died in the past year were read. They include Larry Cooper, Harold Fritz, Joe Guinn, John Hitch, Edith Kelley, George Newbegin, Larry Rayner, James Smally, George L. Walker, James D. Walker, Peter Wandrie, Eugene C. Wilber and Richard T. Wooden.

Veteran's Day honors all who served but often the soldiers who returned home think of those who fought and died.

Vietnam veteran Jim Hubbard told the group that he often feels like he left an important piece of his youth in southeast Asia and told about losing his closest friend in a skirmish there.

Veteran James Parkhurst wore a World War I military uniform that American soldiers known as "doughboys" wore in 1918.

Parkhurst said the he purchased parts of the uniform over the course of a few years and has worn it to important events such as Veteran's Day.

It was noted that soldiers who have joined the military in the past 10 to 20 years have been back and forth to war over and over while veterans from Vietnam had one year of service.

Parkhurst said he met one soldier who has been back and forth 13 times to Iraq or Afghanistan.

"He would come home for three months and then go back for nine months. He has known nothing but war most of his life. He still doesn't have a wife or family. I am extremely proud of that young man. He goes back year after year after year.

"Please don't forget our young boys over there,"he said.

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