SALUTE TO VETERANS

November 09, 2001 12:00 am

By The Observer

Were a fortunate people, says Mike Rynearson, a Vietnam veteran active with the American Legion, Disabled American Veterans and other groups.

The blessings of being an American is a deeply held belief that is now, perhaps more than in several decades, being remembered by most of the population.

How the people of this country remember the benefits this weekend, during the celebration for Veterans Day, will say a lot to area vets.

Rynearson said that the American Legion in La Grande has already given more than 1,800 cemetery flags to mark veterans graves this weekend. Those flag markers will need to be replaced in a year, but the volume of requests for the markers is far above the average.

Rynearson is also helping to organize the Veterans Day parade, moved this year from Sunday to Saturday so that some groups could be involved.

The parade with bands, motorcycles, youth groups and veterans groups involved will line up at 10 a.m. near Hemlock Street and Washington Avenue. The parade, starting at 11, will travel along Adams Avenue west to Third Street.

Rynearson and the Union County Veterans Council have asked Circuit Court Judge Eric Valentine and Bryce Doc Miller, to serve as this years grand

marshals.

Valentine, Rynearson said, has turned down the honor in the past because of his duties on the bench.

But with Valentines term ending in 2002, he agreed to the honor this year.

Im there to represent duty to God and country, Valentine said.

They are the values he teaches as a Boy Scout leader and a message he encourages in those he meets. Valentine also sees his role in the parade as honoring his father, a World War II veteran.

Miller is also World War II veteran and a good friend, Rynearson said, who has done a great deal for area veterans to earn the honor.

With area veterans being called on to explain flag etiquette in area schools, Rynearson said hes looking forward to a Veterans Day where the American flag receives the respect and recognition it deserves.

Hes also looking forward to what may be the first Veterans Day in recent memory that finds nearly everyone behind their veterans, he said.

Rynearson is thinking about those who will be serving their country in the military Nov. 11, and those who have served and will be remembered.

This (the Sept. 11 attacks) was a terrible, terrible event. But maybe this can be the something good that comes out of it.