Vet clubs open doors

By Tonya Fennell: CNJ staff writer

Airmen, soldiers and sailors, both past and present, will be honored Saturday in commemoration of Veterans Day.

Clovis veteran John Montano, who served in the Army National Guard from 1967 through 1999, said activities began Monday and will continue through Saturday.

“We’re (Clovis veterans organizations) trying to honor the veterans,” he said, “the people who came before us who have given their time for our freedom.”

Veterans Day is held Nov. 11 to mark the anniversary of the signing of the armistice that ended World War I. The anniversary is observed in other countries as Remembrance Day or Armistice Day. All major hostilities of World War I were formally ended at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918.

Area veterans organizations have been holding open houses all week to offer the general public a chance to tour the facilities.

“We (veterans organizations) want to open it up to the public,” said Jack Thomas of Clovis, who served in the U.S. Army from 1961 to 1964, “so, they will realize it’s more than just a bar. We are more family-oriented than that … and they can get a little food.”

Montano said the Elks Lodge will also hold a flag retirement ceremony during its open house today. Torn and weather-beaten flags will be disposed of properly by the Elks members, he said.

“You don’t want to throw a flag away,” Montano said.

Saturday will be begin with a Veterans Day breakfast at the American Legion Post 25 from 7-11 a.m.

The week-long activities will culminate Saturday with a Veterans Day Parade that begins at 10 a.m. Floats, veterans organizations and numerous American flags will wind their way down Main Street, Montano said.

“I feel strongly about this country and patriotism,” Thomas said. “Veterans Day is especially important this year because of our service men and women who are in Iraq.”