BULLHEAD CITY — Members of American Legion Post 87 not only carried out a ceremony to mark Veterans Day on Monday, they also observed the 101st anniversary of the end of World War I.
Before the noon Veterans Day ceremony, everyone in the bar was invited to join in for a toast to commemorate the Nov. 11, 1918, armistice. The toast was at 11:11 a.m., on the 11th day of the 11th month — the month, date and time of day when the armistice was enacted.
Most of the participants smiled as they took the drink, then mingled as noon approached.
The post bartender brought out a tray of festive red, white and blue cocktails before the ceremony. The bar closed while the ceremony took place in the next room.
It’s a ceremony that focuses on war and peace, the battlefront and home front. Post members recited from writings created for American Legion posts to use on this holiday. Each writing represents one perspective:
“We remember how men and women set aside their civilian pursuits to serve their nation’s cause, defending the freedom of mankind and preserving their previous heritage,” said Post Commander Paul Williams. “We recognize service to our country and her cause does not end with the termination of military service. We continue our endeavors on behalf of an honorable world peace with a feeling of gratitude to God, and to the men and women who gave their lives as part of the cost of this noblest of causes.”
“The waging of war involves more than just the combatants who fight to the death on the field of battle. The fighting forces begin at the fireside and in the hometowns,” said Auxiliary President Carol Crough. “While the horrors of the battlefield may not have been our experience, we have lived with the terrifying loneliness created to answer an aggressor’s challenge. ... In our constant quest for an honorable world peace, there is need for unity of purpose if we truly are to move toward a brighter future.”
Other post members read aloud about the sacrifice, heroism, courage and group spirit that can occur during war as well as the greed and brutality.
Military service causes men and women to better understand the importance of peace. Being involved in one’s community becomes more important once one becomes a military veteran.
“Let us honor those who in public service seek not how much they may secure from the nation but how much they can give,” one of the speakers stated.
The keynote speaker, Mark Crough, is a U.S. Marine Corps veteran who served in Vietnam. He’s also the American Legion district commander.
He talked about Veterans Day and provided some facts about the holiday. It’s not limited to remembering those in the military who have died — it’s a day to honor all veterans.
“Some see it as the continuation of a weekend,” Crough said.
Crough also noted that Nov. 10 — the day before Veterans Day — is the birthday of the USMC.
Over the years, he said, he has become more aware of the meaning of Veterans Day. It had often taken a backseat to the birthday celebration of July 4.
Crough admitted that he was sometimes hazy, exhausted or even hung over when the calendar identified the day as Nov. 11.
But “I eventually understood the significance,” he said.
Now, he said, he goes out of his way to show respect to those who came before and after him in military service.
He said he wants current military members to receive the welcome home many Vietnam vets didn’t.
Veterans of his generation now compose much of the Legion’s membership, he added.
A potluck lunch followed the ceremony.