County observances will begin with “Operation Stand Down,” Friday at 6 p.m., in the ballroom at American Legion James Dickey Post 23 on Court Street in Portsmouth.
“Our post commander, Ron Linn, who is a veteran of Vietnam and the first Iraq war, came up with the idea here three or four weeks ago to have a little get-together for the Vietnam-era veterans, and anyone else that wants to show up,” said James Saddler of Post 23. “It's open to the public, and we charge five bucks a head. We'll have plenty to eat, and lots of snacks throughout the evening. Refreshments are going to be available and there will be a DJ playing music.”
Saddler said he hopes wit will be a belated welcome home for the veterans of the Vietnam War. Tickets are available by calling (740) 353-3030, or can be purchased at the door the night of the remembrance.
He said a lot of Scioto County veterans organizations will participate in the annual Kenova, W. Va., Veterans Day parade.
A Portsmouth native and retired Marine officer will be the guest of honor and will speak at the 232nd birthday celebration of the U.S. Marine Corps on Nov. 10.
Ohio Military Hall of Fame inductee Gunner Gilbert “Gib” Bolton of Oceanside, Calif., will speak at the celebration sponsored by the Marine Corps League, on the second floor of James Dickey Post 23.
“This is our biggest event of the year,” said Marine Corps League Commandant Emmett Gregory. “This is a big deal to Marines.”
The Marine Officer Candidates Class at Greenup County (Ky.) High School will be present in their dress uniforms to assist the Marines with their birthday celebration. Tickets are available from Marines Corps League members.
Saddler said Monday will be the day for the main veterans celebration.
“We can't have it on the 11th, because that's Sunday. That's the day to go to church and do other things,” he said.
The public is invited to the morning ceremony that will kick the day's activities off.
“The Scioto County Veterans Service office is going to have a program at Tracy Park, in Portsmouth, starting at 10 a.m. Candy Tuller, Scioto County Veterans Service officer, will chair the program. And it's her hopes and wishes to recognize all the female veterans from Scioto County and probably any other county who wants to show up,” Saddler said. “I spoke with her this morning, and she has the names of 16 ladies who have called her, but if any ladies out there who have been in the service want to participate, they can give Candy a call.”
After the ceremony at Tracy Park, there will be a short program at James Dickey Post 23, kicking off its nursing home veterans Christmas program. Saddler said food would also be a highlight of the day, with navy beans, corn cakes, fried potatoes, desserts and coffee, with other refreshments available at Post 23. And to top off the days activities, Santa Claus will put in an appearance.
“This year's veterans' Christmas program will be dedicated in its entirety to the memory of Howard Crull, a deceased World War II Army Air Corps veteran,” he said. “Howard was a very dedicated person to the military and to the American Legion. He was our bugler for our funeral detail, and he never missed a note.”
Saddler said there will be tags bearing the names of some 185 nursing home veterans, and people will be able to take a name and buy that person a Christmas present.
“Last year, each veteran probably got two, three or four presents,” he said. “We'll package it up and get it to them.”
Saddler said he expects a good turnout for all of the events on the schedule.