Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Veterans Day 2015

Above: Medal of Honor recipient Command Chief Master Sergeant Francis Huffman, of Littlerock, Washington, acknowledges a standing ovation during Veterans Day ceremonies today in Olympia. After the ceremony, Huffman said he received the medal for providing Air Force support actions in Vietnam in 1971 while surrounded by the enemy, an action that saved many lives.  

By Janine Gates

Veterans Day ceremonies were held throughout the South Sound on Wednesday and the Thurston County Veterans Council held its event in the Capitol Rotunda on the state Capitol Campus. 

The Washington State American Legion Band, VFW Auxiliary Post 318, Tahoma Gold Star Wives, and other veteran organizations participated.

Thurston County Commissioner Bud Blake, a retired U.S. Army Lieutenant Colonel, gave the keynote speech.

In his remarks, Blake said, “….Today in the global war on terror…we continue to welcome home veterans and thank them for their service. I personally experienced this gratitude when I, along with approximately 400 other service members, came home for R&R in February 2008. We departed the airplane at Dallas, Texas, and every single person waiting at the gate to board their airplane stood on their feet and applauded their veterans as we strolled by….until the last service member passed by.  When I saw this I knew, immediately, we had learned from the mistakes of the Korea and Vietnam conflicts.

“So I am here to tell you that it does not stop there….We need to show our soldiers returning from the recent wars…that our welcome does not end at the airport terminal, with a hand shake or in a parade. This generation’s challenge is to continue with the effort to help those veterans who need assistance. We must fight on the home front by preventing suicide and homelessness. We must assist veterans in receiving additional medical care, education, and employment opportunities for themselves and their families…..” said Blake.

Above: At the Washington State Vietnam War Memorial on the Capitol Campus today, Ashar Entrekin, 17, a senior at Capital High School, plays Taps at the conclusion of the reading of the names for those killed and missing in action during the war. The event was sponsored by the Daughters of the American Revolution. Entrekin said he’s been playing his trumpet for seven years.

For more information about Thurston County Veterans Services, go to


  1. November 11th was declared Armistice Day. A day to pledge to end wars not honor military personnel. People today have some mythological idea that they are fighting to save something. What are they saving when they blow up buildings, kill men, women and children?
    Someone who wanted to glorify war via the back door decided to have us honor the soldiers. One step removed from honoring the war. So, as with the Iraq debacle, we had the slogan 'SUPPORT THE TROOPS', which really meant support the war because when the troops come home they are met with homelessness, no jobs, little or no mental health support to get them through the trauma of what they have just been through. Those who shouted "SUPPORT THE TROOPS" now want to cut funding for veterans in order to give more tax breaks to the rich.

    Let's bring back Armistice Day as a ritual for looking at how to end the use of war as a problem solving method and not honor the soldiers as a back door approach to honoring war.

  2. Providing Air Force support while surrounded by the enemy sounds like he bombed 'the enemy' which were Vietnamese fighting for their independence against US. forces who were in Vietnam for all the wrong reasons. Not to defend freedom or democracy but to prevent a revolution against a foreign aggressor (the US) who were attempting to replace the defeated French colonialists. In the process of fighting 'the enemy' us bombers and troops killed and maimed hundreds of thousands of Vietnamese, both civilians and independence fighters. I met a number of those who were wounded in the war when I visited Vietnam and lived in Hanoi in 1993, 17 years after the wars end. The US war of aggression in Vietnam is one of, if not the, most shameful and criminal war crimes in history and those who are still lauding the war and the 'hero's' who fought in it have learned nothing about what that war was all about.