VETS HOME HOSTS WW1 PROGRAM AND MEMORABILA

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By Steve Andrascik

The Southern Nevada Veteran’s Home was the location for Veteran’s Day celebration. Doors opened at 9:00am. Besides the normal activities this year there was a special tribute to WW1 with displays of period uniforms, weapons and artifacts. At 11:00 a moment of silence was called for in honor of the signing of the Armistice officially ending WW1.

The Nevada State Archives had a patriotic poster from 1917 sent out by the then Council of Defense. John Lusak had a collection of WW1 rifles from 8 countries. There were also exhibits from Jim and Donna McGready featuring a photo of one of the first women to join the US Navy. Her name was Nellie Nettzel. At that time women were only allowed to join the Navy if they were able to go to sea. Since no sea going vessel was equipped for women, this was an obstacle to overcome. The then Secretary of the Navy, Josephus Daniel found a tug boat aground in the Potomac River and assigned all the women who wanted to join the Navy to it. He thus complied with the requirement that all women be sea worthy.

The keynote speaker, Patrick O’Donnell, was on hand to autograph copies of his latest book, “The Unknowns” the untold story of the unknown soldier. During his keynote address he spoke of the bloodiest battle of WW1, The Battle of the Argonne Forest were 26,000 died. O’Donnell is the author of 12 books. He was embedded with a US Marine unit in Iraq twice as he penned “We Were One” the story of the Battle of Fallujah.

Randy Kitner, Commander of Matthew A. Commons Memorial VFW Post 36, Boulder City was attired in a WW1 uniform along with two others. The VFW Post 36 Auxiliary provided cookies, coffee and water during the event. They were assisted by Peggy Randle of the Nevada Woman’s Veterans and Nancy Mihalski with the American Legion Post 40 and DAV Auxiliary. Sue Garlow, Cynthia Hatch, Joy Hatch and Diane Andrascik represented VFW Post 36. There were also numerous other volunteers who helped make this day special.

The official program began at 1:00pm. Nevada Department of Veterans Services Director, Kat Miller was the MC. DAV Chapter 12 Color Guard presented the colors. Laura Schaffer sang the National Anthem. A proclamation from Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval was read by Nevada Department of Veterans Services Deputy Director, Fred Wagar. The Henderson Symphony Orchestra performed WW1 tunes. Senator elect Jacky Rosen was introduced and briefly addressed the crowd thanking our veterans for their bravery, commitment, and service. Laura Schaffer and Phil Esser sang “Overthere”. As he has done for many years at veteran’s events, Boulder City’s own and Vietnam Veteran, Phil Esser sang “God Bless America”. The crowd sang along. After the benediction by DAV Chapter 12 Chaplain Kurt Smith, the Boulder City Veteran’s Pilot Group completed two passes as their flyover officially ended the ceremonies.