Veterans Day events in Steamboat stretch over 6 days
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — The traditions surrounding Veterans Day are something that Army veteran and longtime Steamboat Springs resident Jim Stanko never takes lightly.
“It’s the day that we recognize the service of all of our veterans from Routt County and Steamboat Springs,” said Stanko, who served in Germany during the Vietnam War. “You know, people don’t realize this, but we have a pretty good military tradition in Steamboat Springs.”
When events recognizing Veterans Day begin Wednesday, Nov. 7, Stanko said he will be overcome with a sense of pride — a feeling he not only shares with veterans from Steamboat but with soldiers from surrounding areas.
“In World War I, over 990 kids from Routt County went to the war, and 188 of them were from Steamboat,” Stanko said. “That means 15 percent of the population from Steamboat Springs went to the war.”
• 8:30 a.m., Veterans Day program, Soda Creek Elementary School, 220 Park Ave.
• 5:30 p.m., World War I/American Legion exhibit opening at Tread of Pioneers Museum, 800 Oak St.
• 6:30 to 8:30 a.m., Veterans Day breakfast, Veterans of Foreign Wars Post, 924 Lincoln Ave.
• 1 p.m., Korean Consulate presents medals to Korean War veterans and their families, Rex’s American Grill & Bar, 3190 S. Lincoln Ave.
•11 a.m. Bell-ringing ceremony commemorating the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I, Heart of Steamboat United Methodist Church, 736 Oak St. .
• 9:30 a.m., Veterans Day program, Strawberry Park Elementary School, 39620 Amethyst Drive
• 11:45 a.m., Veterans visit, Casey’s Pond senior living community, 2855 Owl Hoot Trail
Remembering the sacrifices of those soldiers takes on added meaning this year as the U.S. marks 100 years since Germany signed an armistice agreement with the Allies on Nov. 11, 1918, ending World War I.
Twenty-two men from Routt County did not return from that war, including six from Steamboat Springs, four from Yampa and three from Hayden. The war also claimed the lives of men from Pagoda, Toponas, McGregor, Dunkley, Oak Creek, Deep Creek, McCoy, Bear River and Clark.
In Steamboat, Veterans Day will be celebrated over six days from Nov. 7 to Nov.12.
Events will get rolling with the first of two fifth-grade programs for veterans. The first will take place at Soda Creek Elementary School starting at 8:30 a.m. Wednesday, and Strawberry Park students will host a second presentation at 9:30 a.m. Monday, Nov. 12, the day the government officially recognizes the holiday.
“That has become a tradition, which is really fantastic,” Stanko said of the programs, which were started by a music teacher at Soda Creek Elementary School in the early 1990s. “For the first two or three years, it was not that big, and I think the first time they did it, we only had 12 veterans there. But she just kept at it, expanding it.”
Two years later, Strawberry Park started doing programs as well.
“The kids in the fifth-grade class bring photos of their parents, their grandparents and stuff,” Stanko said.”It’s not just kids learning about veterans, but they are also learning some of their family history. Those programs are the highlight.”
Other events include the opening of an exhibit at the Tread of Pioneers Museum, a Veterans Day breakfast at the Veterans of Foreign Wars and a bell ringing ceremony to memorialize the end of World War I and the American Legion Posts that were formed in the war’s wake.
“It’s an event that organizers are trying to hold all across the United States,” Stanko said of the bell ringing. “The World War I Centennial Commission, which was set up to celebrate the end of World War I, is trying to get towns from all across the United States to ring the bells at 11 a.m. on Sunday. They want to try to get every town.”
Stanko said the local American Legion Post, along with those in Yampa and Hayden, will join in the effort to ring the bell 21 times to replicate the 21 volleys fired by a rife squad during a military funeral to honor those for their service. Stanko said the organizers also plan to read the names of the 22 Routt County soldiers who lost their lives in World War I.
John F. Russell is the business reporter at the Steamboat Pilot & Today. To reach him, call 970-871-4209, email jrussell@SteamboatPilot.com or follow him on Twitter @Framp1966.
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