Community set to honor veterans, celebrate longstanding tradition |

Community set to honor veterans, celebrate longstanding tradition

Gary Arentz, who served with the U.S. Navy as a quartermaster, second class, salutes the American Flag as it makes its way past him during last year's Veterans Day ceremony at Strawberry Park Elementary School in 2019. The program, which was put on by the students, is part of a long-running tradition where the community honors those who have served in the military.
John F. Russell/Steamboat Pilot & Today

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — For Jim Stanko, who served in the U.S. Army in Germany during the Vietnam War, Veterans Day is a chance to put on his uniform and reunite with others who have served their country.

“I guess it doesn’t have the pomp and circumstance like Memorial Day where you actually do something at the cemetery and put flags on the graves and things like that,” Stanko said. “But you know, all across the country, this is the one holiday where veterans get together and just tell stories. It’s a holiday that centers around the veterans getting together.”

Steamboat Springs’ recognition of Armistice Day, which was changed to Veterans Day in 1954, dates back 100 years. This year’s celebration, on Monday, Nov. 11, begins with a breakfast, open to all veterans, from 6:30 to 8 a.m. at the Veterans of Foreign Wars Hall in downtown Steamboat. There is also an 11:30 a.m. lunch at Casey’s Pond where veterans gather with those living at the senior living facility.

Veterans Day activities also include a 9:45 a.m. program at Strawberry Park Elementary School and a 1:45 p.m. program at Soda Creek Elementary School where students have the opportunity to honor those who have served.

There will also be a reception with American Legion National Vice Commander Rob Liebenow and Colorado Commander Dean Noechel from 3:30 to 4 p.m. at the Steamboat Springs Community Center.

“The highlights are always the school programs, and I think the main highlight this year is that the national vice commander will be here,” Stanko said.

The day will wrap up at 5 p.m. with a dedication of a new World War II display at the Tread of Pioneers Museum. Veterans and the families of WWII veterans are encouraged to attend.

If you go

Saturday, Nov. 9

  • 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Volunteers will be selling poppies at Ace Hardware, 2155 Curve Plaza, to support the local Veteran Assistance Fund.

Monday, Nov. 11

  • 6:30 a.m. to 8 a.m. Breakfast will be served to veterans at the VFW Hall, 924 Lincoln Ave.
  • 9:45 a.m. Veterans Day program at Strawberry Park Elementary School, 39620 Amethyst St.
  • 11:30 a.m. Lunch at Casey’s Pond, 2855 Owl Hoot Lane
  • 1:45 p.m. Veterans Day Program at Soda Creek Elementary School, 220 Park Ave.
  • 3:30 p.m. A reception with the American Legion National Vice Commander Rob Liebenow and Department of Colorado Commander Dean Noechel, Steamboat Springs Community Center, 1605 Lincoln Ave.
  • 5 p.m. Dedication of World War II display at Tread of Pioneers Museum, 800 Oak St.

Veterans and family of WWII veterans are encouraged to attend Monday evening’s presentation at the Tread of Pioneers Museum, and all veterans are encouraged to attend the school programs.

“The World War II generation grew up in World War I, and you know, then became a World War II generation,” Stanko said. “It is just the end of an era, and I think this is a really neat way to close out any type of military exhibit that we’re going to have for a while.”

Stanko said Routt County has already lost all of its WWI veterans, and the number of people who served, or were even alive during WWII, drops with each passing year.

“We’ve lost all our WWI veterans, and we’re losing a great many of our WWII veterans nationwide and here in Routt County,” Stanko said. “ I think we’re down to about five WWII veterans in Routt County.”

This is a special year for the American Legion Leo Hill Post No. 44, which held its first Armistice Day dinner in Routt County 100 years ago at a local restaurant on Nov. 11, 1919.

To reach John F. Russell, call 970-871-4209, email or follow him on Twitter @Framp1966.

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