Approximately 25 local veterans, along with family, friends and partners, joined for the annual Veterans Day luncheon at the Methow Valley Community Center in Twisp on Saturday (Nov. 11).
Meanwhile, about 20 veterans, plus friends and family, gathered outside in the snow for the tradition lowering of the flag to half-mast at the Mazama Store at 11 a.m., which included a moment of silence to express gratitude for the veterans’ service and the playing of “Taps.” Store co-owner Rick LeDuc was the master of ceremonies, and read a brief tribute to vets. The gatherers then found complimentary coffee and baked goods inside the store.
About 125 people were in attendance for the Twisp gathering, featuring Okanogan County Sheriff, veteran and master of ceremonies Paul Budrow, keynote speaker and U.S. Army veteran Shannon Huffman Polson, and a complimentary lunch catered by B-S Bar-B-Que.
The highlight of the early afternoon gathering was the introduction of every veteran in the audience, complete with their telling of their branch of service, specific unit or station of duty, the years of service and a brief statement by some of how their service impacted their lives. Several were overcome with the emotion of the moment, a display of their passion for their time of service and their experience.
Budrow opened the program precisely at 11 a.m. with a moment of silence to commemorate the armistice ending World War I, at 11 a.m. (Central European Time) on the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918. The recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance followed, and Fred Cooley, another veteran, performed the National Anthem in his customary a capella baritone voice. A former Apache helicopter pilot, local author Shannon Huffman Polson delivered a 10-minute presentation prior to the lunch.
Members of the local American Legion Auxiliary Unit 120, Liberty Bell Key Club, Blue Star Coffee Roasters, Winthrop Kiwanis and Methow Valley Cascaders 4-H Club all contributed their volunteer efforts to make the day a memorable success for the guests of honor.