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Dawn to Dusk: Veterans Day activities abound

From sunrise to well after sunset, there will be Veterans Day activities in The Dalles and community members are invited to show their support by participating in one or more events.

The morning of Nov. 11, the national day to pay tribute to past and present military personnel, begins with a free meal for veterans, reserve and active duty personnel and Gold Star families — those who have lost someone to war — at the Civic Auditorium, 323 E. Fourth Street.

Pancakes, scrambled eggs, bacon, fruit and coffee will be served at the Veterans Thank You Breakfast from 7 to 10 a.m. Cost for civilians is $5 per person or $15 for families of five or more. The event is made possible by a large donation by Maupin Stoves and Spas in The Dalles.

Anyone who wants to volunteer time, or contribute to the cause, can reach Cassie Ware at 541-965-1885.

She has timed the breakfast to end as the annual Veterans Day Parade is lining up at the intersection of Sixth and Webber streets.

Women who have served in the military from all branches of services are invited to ride in the parade by showing up at 10 a.m. Saturday at Eighth and Webber streets (in front of Mid-Columbia Fire and Rescue).

The grand marshals, to date, include: Gwen Johnston, an Army veteran; Kayla Nelson, a Marine; Vandee Mauser, Air Force; Linda Glanden, Air Force; Barbara Rauch, Air Force; Amy McIlvenna, Oregon National Guard; and Megan Klement; Coast Guard.

The Mid-Columbia Veterans Memorial Committee organizes the parade every year and is focusing on the service of women veterans — about 15 percent of 1.5 million active duty troops — in 2017.

The parade starts at 11 a.m. and its route is east on Sixth Street and then onto Third for the journey through the downtown blocks before being routed onto Second Street for a return to Webber.

David Childs, a fighter pilot in World War II who was shot down and became a prisoner of war, will be riding in the parade. He has written a book on his experiences called “Wings and Tracks.”

The Dalles middle and high school bands will march in the parade. Tonkin, Urness Motors, Griffith Motors and Ray Schulten’s Motors, all in The Dalles, have made vehicles available to transport dignitaries during the parade. Veterans of World War II, Korea and Vietnam who reside at the Oregon Veterans’ Home will also be in the parade.

MCVMC and the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 2471 Auxiliary have partnered for a community potluck after the parade at the Oregon Veterans Home, 700 Veterans Drive.

People are asked to bring a favorite dish to share and the VFW will provide chicken, coffee, plates, cups and silverware.

Gavin McIlvenna, an Oregon State Police trooper and Army veteran, will be the keynote speaker. He was a guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Arlington National Cemetary.

McIlvenna is one of 634 living members of the Tomb Guard in the United States. He walked the mat in front of the sarcophagus in 1997 at the age of 27 and joined the long line of guard members who have kept vigil since 1937.

He also served with the Oregon National Guard, retiring at the rank of sergeant major.

On behalf of the Society of the Honor Guard, Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, McIlvenna asks churches in the area to ring steeple bells as part of a National Salute on Nov. 11.

He will be personally ringing the bell at Old St. Peter’s Landmark, 405 Lincoln Street.

McIlvenna requests that bells peal 21 times at five-second intervals, followed by two minutes of silence.

The members of the Tomb Guard in the United States are on a mission to establish the National Salute every Veterans Day.

After the luncheon at OVH, the new Columbia Gorge Veterans Museum opens its doors from 2 to 4 p.m. to give area residents and visitors at look at memorabilia contributed by veterans from different war eras.

A ribbon cutting organized by The Dalles Area Chamber of Commerce takes place at 2:30 p.m. and a drawing for prizes, including a patriotic quilt, will be held.

Home Fires Burning, a group that supports female veterans and military families, will hold a drawing for a caregiver’s basket during the open house. Tickets can be purchased at the chamber office, 404 West Second Street.

The Saturday ceremonies end with two concerts at the Granada Theatre geared to veterans, with free admission for all who have served. The first show will start at 7 p.m. and feature “Got Your Six,” The Dalles’ own five-piece classic rock band that is made up of military veterans from the Columbia River Gorge. Then at 8 p.m., Cash & King — a Johnny Cash & Elvis Presley tribute band from Nashville — takes the stage.

Also on Nov. 11, Cousins Country Inn & Saloon, 2114 West Sixth Street, offers veterans a free meal from a special menu from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m.

Bill’s Barber Shop, 414 East Second Street, will give veterans a haircut for the discounted cost of $10 during the day,

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