Veterans Day. Honoring Heroes. What You Need to Know.
Wait! Before you lose yourself in the cares of the world, and before you get lost in the mire of discordant political and social discourse, or the mundane pursuit of pumpkin spice lattes, allow me to remind you, if need be, that here in the United States of America, Wednesday, November 11th is Veterans Day.
Interestingly, Veterans Day has only been around since the early 1950s. A previous day of honor, known as Armistice Day, had been instituted sometime after World War I - to honor those who served as well as to celebrate the end of 'war' as we knew it. After all, WWI was supposed to have been 'The War to End all Wars'. Not everyone got the memo.
After WWII and the Korean War, the day of honor changed to 'Veterans Day' in an effort to include ALL those who served, at any time, and honor them for their sacrifice. My Dad served in the Army Air Corps in WWII, and like a lot of young men at the time, he enlisted in the months following the attack on Pearl Harbor. I didn't come along until some twenty years later, just barely squeezing into the final year of 'Baby Boomers'.
Staff Sargeant Harold B. Stephenson served his country and instilled in me, from a very early age, to have great respect and love for those who are willing to make the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom. 'Freedom isn't free' my Dad would say, I'm sure, having borrowed the phrase from someone. Truer words were never spoken.
Those who have lived and listened to the radio in the Yakima Valley over the past 40+ years will surely know my friend, Lou 'The Professor' Bartelli. Lou has an encyclopedic knowledge of music from about 1950 onward. Big, big knowledge. Lou, as his friends will tell you, has an even bigger heart.
In the fall of 1970, while I was in the safe confines of my backyard, playing with my 'G.I. Joe with Lifelike Hair', Lou was in the not-so-safe area known as the Mekong Delta. For his Senior Trip, Lou put whatever Beatle-related plans he may have had on hold, and enlisted in the United States Navy.
After serving his country for a number of harrowing years, Lou returned home to the valley and wound up finding that his love of music and radio could add up to a 40+ year career. He would be a part of the fabric of many Yakima area residents' lives.
So, I wanted to say thank you to all Veterans. I appreciate your service and your sacrifice. Thanks to my Dad and thank you Lou for being such a great friend. (even though you don't bring coffee by the radio station in the morning often enough) (had to get that in)
No Veterans Day Parade this year thanks to COVID-19. Here's all the information you need about the event at Sarge Hubbard Park.