Local veterans concerned about proposal to move Election Day to Veterans Day

November 11, 2002 11:00 pm
Wayne Troy, naval veteran, marched proudly with others in the Veterans Day Parade Monday in Baker City. (Baker City Herald/S. John Collins).
Wayne Troy, naval veteran, marched proudly with others in the Veterans Day Parade Monday in Baker City. (Baker City Herald/S. John Collins).

By LISA BRITTON

Of the Baker City Herald

Nov. 11 has been Veterans Day since 1956; originally it was Armistice Day, so named to commemorate the end of World War I in 1918.

Currently there's legislation introduced in Congress that proposes to move Election Day to Nov. 11.

Opinions about this change surfaced among talk of patriotism and military veterans at Monday's Veterans Day gatherings in honor of veterans of the armed services.

Cliff Colvin, retired U.S. Marine Corps lieutenant colonel, spoke at the Veterans Day ceremony at Mount Hope Cemetery. He was in the military for 28 years.

He emphasized the need for everyone to recognize and thank area veterans, as well as appreciate the sacrifice of those who have died.

"When you enter our county courthouse, take a moment to read the names on the metal plaque.

"On this day in particular we should be proud of our military and our country," he said.

Along with encouraging everyone to think of the veterans, Colvin also said that Veterans Day should not become political, as it might be if held in conjunction with Election Day.

Wayne Troy donned his U.S. Coast Guard uniform for Veterans Day, starting the day by attending Mass with Al Schmeits and Mike Connelly. All were dressed in their old uniforms — Coast Guard, Marine Corps, and Navy.

Troy was in the service from 1952 to 1956, serving in Korea.

"I was with the only Coast Guard unit in Korea," he said.

He also disagrees with merging Election Day and Veterans Day.

"To make it political is wrong," he said.

"Veterans need their day," added his wife, Helen.

Following the cemetery ceremony and parade, there was a small ceremony at Settlers' Park.

Norman Allen, 83, is a resident at Settlers' Park. He was drafted into World War II, and also fought in Korea.

Allen, the youngest of five brothers, was the only one who survived the war. While he served in the U.S. Air Force, Allen was both a bombardier and bombardier instructor.

He said this was the first Veterans Day observance at Settlers' Park since he moved there over two years ago.

Allen was adamant that people need to observe Veterans Day and remember who the day is for.

"A lot of people forget who we are and what we are," he said. "People didn't even know this was Veterans Day."

Colvin, however, was optimistic that people are becoming more patriotic.

"I believe, perhaps, patriotism is back in style," Colvin said.