LOWVILLE At 11 a.m. on Sunday, the Lowville Veterans Day parade commenced.
Its the tradition to hold it on the 11th day of the 11th month at the 11th hour; thats when the armistice was signed in 1918, said William F. Snyder, vice commander of the Lewis County Marine Corps League and the Lowville Veterans of Foreign Wars Lewis County Memorial Post 6912.
Parades are just one way that the north country has observed Veterans Day. This year, many events were held on Friday or Saturday, including in-school assemblies, wreath-laying ceremonies or dinners. The Lowville Elks Lodge 1605 held its Veterans Appreciation Luncheon in early October, as many elderly veterans may not have been able to brave what is expected to be cold November weather.
In Watertown, VFW Barben-Jones Post 1400 at 231 Bellew Ave. N. held its Veterans Day ceremony early Sunday morning.
Post 1400 senior vice commander Charles Patrick said that it does not take much to show military support. Yesterday I was at the bread store, and a lady called me over and said thank you for being a veteran, he said. Thats all it takes.
Vets are the backbone of the country they have supported democracy and freedom over the years, said James Marshall, commander of the American Legion Post 61. Its sad that more people dont recognize vets and take to honoring them.
If you forget your vets, next youll forget your dead those who have given their lives for society. Then your society is lost, warned Mr. Snyder.
The VFW and Marine Corps League are among many organizations that honor veterans each Nov. 11. American Legion chapters also held ceremonies or open houses across Jefferson and Lewis counties.
Businesses became involved, as well. Applebees restaurant offered a Veterans Day menu free of charge for veterans and active-duty military members. Dennys will offer veterans and military members free all-you-can-eat pancakes today from 6 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Service was a theme of the events. At our legion, we collect food and toothbrushes and stuff for veterans so they can have supplies, said Georgia L. Barton. The 11-year-old was one of six students announced at the VFW Post 1400 ceremony as a local finalist for the Patriots Pen contest, sponsored nationally by the VFW.
Georgia said Veterans Day is special because all of these people serve our country and make it a better place.
Fellow finalist Lauren E. Chamberlain, 11, said that in her essay she told the founding fathers that they were very courageous in the war and they never lost hope. This sentiment is something she attributes to current soldiers and veterans, as well.
One such soldier is Staff Sergeant Corey D. Porter of the 10th Combat Aviation Brigade. Its good to remind all veterans past, present and future that they are remembered, he said.
Staff Sgt. Porter served in Afghanistan from 2010 to 2011 and is still active duty. In December he will leave his wife, Cheretta O., and two children for an unaccompanied deployment to Korea.
Its nice to know that there are people supporting us, especially in the local community. And I mean us as in all military families, said Mrs. Porter of the holiday.
In the past, [people] didnt honor the military as well as they should have. They do much better now, said Eugene Mills, who served in Vietnam and Korea.
Anyone can support the military year-round by offering a thank you or helping with USO troop care packages.
Charles F. Berry said he would like to see the American flag displayed on homes more often. It doesnt have to be a holiday to display the flag.
Veterans can contact the Watertown Vet Center at 210 Court St., Suite 20, for information on what they are entitled to or to learn more about veteran organizations in Jefferson and Lewis counties.