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The Leavenworth Times - Leavenworth, KS
  • LV Times columnist: Veteran Salute reminder No. 1, and two more coming

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  • If 30 years of experience as a columnist is a guide, my estimate is that somewhere around .0001 percent of readers marked their calendar when I provided an important date several weeks ago.
    Which is why I write multiple columns about upcoming events that I’d like readers to know about and plan to attend.
    Today’s column is VS No. 1, and will be followed by VS No. 2 in September, and VS No. 3 in October.
    VS stands for Veterans Salute, a 17-year program to honor veterans of all wars presented by the Mid-Continent Public Library system across the wide Missouri River.
    For the many of you who have not marked the date, again it is Oct. 18, a Saturday. The Salute will again be at the Platte City branch, which is about eight miles east of Leavenworth. For you GPS users, the library’s address will be in the third reminder, or VS No. 3.
    Oh, what the heck. For ye who have the desire to be fully informed way in advance, the address is 2702 Northwest Prairie View Road, Platte City, Mo., 64079. The telephone number is (816) 858-2322. I’ll probably repeat both in the two future columns.
    For several years, the Salute has had a theme based on a date in military history.   There are few dates more important in military history than June 6, 1944. On that date 70 years ago, Allied forces stormed ashore and dropped from the sky at selected positions in the coast of Normandy, France.
    The day will be known forever as D-Day, the day the Allies finally assaulted the French coast during World War II.
    At past Salutes, veterans of the war or campaign being honored have been present. Unfortunately, as Father Time marches inexorably on, a phrase I’ve sadly used in many past columns, there are fewer and fewer veterans still among us who can attend.
    Just a few years ago, there were five D-Day veterans I was aware of in Leavenworth. Today I’m aware of none. If any reader out there knows of one, please let me know so he can be invited to attend “his” salute.
    There are a few in the greater Kansas City area, and those known to the planning committee have been invited.  If others become known, they will also be invited.
    The speaker for the opening ceremony at 9:30 a.m. is set and looking forward to being there. She wasn’t at Normandy, nor was she even born then. But, her granddaddy, Gen. Dwight Eisenhower, was “heavily involved” in the planning and execution of The Longest Day.
    Mary Eisenhower, one of Ike’s three grandchildren and a long time friend of Fort Leavenworth’s, will be the speaker. She attended the 70th anniversary ceremonies at Normandy a few weeks ago, and is looking forward to being there and meeting as many people as she can.
    Page 2 of 2 - The Leavenworth High School ROTC color guard will be there again to post the colors at the opening ceremony. And, lots and lots of veterans of all recent wars from the area hopefully will be there.
    Everything that day is free. Parking is free. Attendance at all displays and all events is free. Meeting and having “photo ops” with veterans who attend is free.  
    The final planning committee meeting is not for a few weeks, so I can’t say just what  will be there for visitors to see and enjoy. Inside the library will be some 50 tables of historical displays, some with actual artifacts from the U.S., other Allies, and Germany that were actually used at Normandy.
    Outside will be vintage vehicles and a reenactment by modern folks dressed in very authentic looking WWII uniforms. After reading this, hopefully another .0001 percent of readers will mark their calendars for Oct. 18.
    We might just get a few interested folks to Platte City yet.

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