Brimming with a renewed sense of patriotism and respect for the military, North Olympic Peninsula residents are expected to turn out today to honor veterans and remember the heroes from the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.
Many say they will attend Veterans Day celebrations with a new kind of pride, and veterans say they are enjoying more respect.
Speakers across the nation are drawing special attention to Americans fighting in Afghanistan and the firefighters and police officers who died in the World Trade Center.
Veterans Day is today. The holiday observance is Monday.
Wallace Levin, chairman of San Francisco’s Veterans Day parade, said he expected this year’s event to be one of the biggest ever.
“I think that Veterans Day has never been as important as it is this year,” he said.
“I just hope it helps the morale of our troops and our people. The front lines this time are not just in Afghanistan, they are in New York and Washington.
“The war is in America.”
Gov. Gary Locke will lead Washington’s Veterans Day observance ceremonies at Tahoma National Cemetery, 18600 240 St., Kent, at 10:45 a.m. today.
In Jefferson and Clallam counties, several organizations are planning Veterans Day events.
* Coast Guard Group Port Angeles’ annual Veterans Day ceremony will begin today at 10:30 a.m. in the Port Angeles High School auditorium, 304 E. Park Ave.
The event was moved to the auditorium due to construction in the Coast Guard station’s hangar.
* Olympic National Park is inviting the public to come and enjoy the natural beauty of the park by waiving entrance fees today and Monday.
The park’s entrance stations and visitor centers will be open and staffed. Weather and road conditions permitting, Hurricane Ridge Road will be open.
Olympic National Park’s primary visitor center is located at 3002 Mount Angeles Road, Port Angeles.
National park fees will be collected for overnight camping, recreation permits, reservation services and concession operations.
* At state parks, all access and boat launch fees will be waived today and Monday, and there will be no camping and moorage fees tonight.
* Entrance fees to the Dungeness National Wildlife Refuge near Sequim will be waived by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service today and Monday.
* A veterans and Coast Guard appreciation service will be held today at 11 a.m. at the Church of the Nazarene, 170 Sol Duc Way, Forks.
* In honor of the New York firefighters that gave their lives in the Sept. 11 attacks, a memorial carving will be dedicated to show support for local firefighters, police officers and emergency medical technicians today.
The ceremony will be from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. in the Forks High School Auxiliary Gym on Spartan Avenue.
The Livingston Family and Brad Swerin will provide music for the event.
* The Forks Elks Club and Ladies Emblem Club will host their annual Veterans Day dinner at 5 p.m. today in the Elks Lodge, 941 Merchant Road.
The $5 dinner includes spaghetti, salad, garlic bread and dessert. Veterans and widows of veterans eat free. All proceeds go to the Washington Veteran’s Home in Retsil.
* Port Townsend Elks Lodge members will host a Veterans Day breakfast today at 8 a.m. at the Elks Lodge, 555 Otto St. Veterans eat free.
A program honoring veterans will begin at 9 a.m. and will include the Elks and American Legion color guards.
* The American Legion will host an hour-long ceremony featuring color guards and presentations, including the singing of “The Star Spangled Banner.”Events start at 2 p.m. at the Legion hall, 209 Monroe St., Port Townsend.