American Legion plans Veterans Day observance

By Sarah Meyer: PNT Staff Writer

American Legion Post 31 will hold its 62nd annual Veterans Day observance beginning at 10:30 a.m. Tuesday at the Memorial Building.

Members of the American Legion’s honor guard, who perform the flag ceremony for Veterans Day, say it’s important to remember veterans.

“The veterans who are really putting something out deserve more recognition,” James Kyte said. “I’ve always had a soft spot for the guys that would put their lives on the line.”

He noted that today’s soldiers all are volunteers, unlike many soldiers up through the Vietnam War.

Kyte served four years in the Navy and fought in the Korean War.

The Veterans Day observance includes posting the colors, music, an invocation and benediction, as well as speakers.

Prisoners of war and soldiers missing in action will be remembered.

Kyte and Dennis Darrow, who served in the Army for six years and went to Iceland for overseas duty, will provide an “American Tribute.”

Col. James L. Cardoso, commander of the 27th Special Operations Group at Cannon Air Force Base, will give the Veterans Day address.

Special recognition will go to Bataan Death March survivors from Roosevelt County or their widows, according to Joe Blair, who served in the Navy from 1942-1946 and was a gunner’s mate and machine gunner on the U.S.S. Farragut DD 348.

Three of the death march survivors are still living: Irvin Butler, Alvin Fails and John L. Johnson. Johnson will not be able to attend the ceremony, Blair said.

Widows accepting the recognition for the husbands will be Joy Gardener, Rowena Pruitt, Irene Wall and Imogene McCormick.

American Legion Post 31 is named for Carl McDermitt, the first man from Roosevelt County killed in World War I, Blair said.

Other Veterans Day events:

• An event to honor God, country and veterans will be held at 7:40 a.m. Saturday at Southside Church of Christ, 221 W. 18th St.
Guest speaker will be Capt. Bryan Cottrell, chaplain at Cannon Air Force Base. Also featured will be the American Legion Honor Guard, special music and prayer leaders from several churches.

• Eastern New Mexico University will hold a Veterans Day observance at 10:30 a.m. Tuesday in the Dallan Sanders Memorial Patio.
Nontraditional Student Educational Services, ENMU students and staff will honor the men and women who have served and are still serving in the armed forces.