Portales honors veterans

Tony Parra

War veterans define Veterans Day as one of remembrance and appreciation to those who served our country in war. Portales will do its part with events commemorating veterans this week.
American Legion will have its “Tribute to Veterans” beginning at 10 a.m. on Tuesday at the Memorial Building in Portales. The program will include the singing of the “Star Spangled Banner” and “America The Beautiful” by Don Paschke.
Paschke said he has been singing the “Star Spangled Banner” and other songs for the Veterans Day celebrations for more than 40 years. He moved to Portales in 1962 and sang in his first Veterans Day celebration in Portales in 1963.
Paschke is a veteran with several thoughts on America’s involvement in Iraq.
“I’m kind of disturbed by what’s going on now in Iraq,” he said. “It’s become too political. They need to end their (political) squabbling. I’m sure we were right to go over there.”
Paschke served for two years during the Korean War.
Joe Blair of Commander Post 31 will give a welcome speech during the program. The speech will be about prisoners of war and those missing in action.
“This is a day to honor all living veterans of all the wars,” said Blair, who was in the Navy for four years. “We have had good turnouts.”
Blair said about 12 million U.S. men and women served in World War II. About 5 million of those are still alive according to Blair, who is also a Portales historian.
Also Tuesday, the Veterans of Foreign Wars will host a dinner for veterans at 6:30 p.m. in the VFW building.
Most of the Portales public schools will offer free lunches to veterans during their lunch hours all week. Lindsey Middle School and Valencia Elementary will have programs that begin at 10 a.m. Monday followed by the lunches for the veterans.
“It is a day in which we can talk to each other and remember the fallen ones that served in the war,” said Tim Marsh, veteran and organizer of the dinner at the VFW building. “My message to the community would be that if you see a veteran or know of a veteran, to shake his hands and show your appreciation for what he or she has done.”
The Office of Native American Affairs will have a program for veterans at 12:15 p.m. on Tuesday by the Veterans Memorial on the Eastern New Mexico University Campus. The Veterans Memorial is located in between the Campus Union Building and the College of Business Building.