On the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month of every year, communities across America invite people to convene for a few brief moments to honor our nation’s veterans.

In Vinton County, our Veterans Service Commission and VFW Post 5299 will hold a Veterans Day ceremony on the Courthouse steps Thursday. Our ceremony begins at 10:30 a.m. and concludes at 11 a.m.

This year’s service will include a performance of the National Anthem by Abbey Owings and an address by Rev. Walt Goble.  Millie Kohn, widow of local artist Byron Kohn, will present a painting of the Courthouse to the Vinton County Commissioners. Byron, who was a veteran and an accomplished artist, finished this painting a few years ago. He passed away earlier this year.  Bob Grillo will read the casualty list and, of course there, will be a 21-gun salute, taps and the ringing of the community bell.

[slideshow]The service is always moving and significant but is usually sparsely attended. And I have to say there is nothing more discouraging than a sparsely attended Veterans Day service. Especially as you look around at the weathered faces of people who clearly wore the uniform, saluted the flag and willingly went to war to defend what they believe in. They deserve at least one day of their own.

Contrary to what the stores will have you believe, Veterans Day isn’t designed to help you start Christmas shopping early or for you to buy sheets and towels for “the lowest prices of the season.” Instead, this day is meant to be a  celebration to honor America’s veterans for their patriotism, love of country, and willingness to serve and sacrifice for the common good.

Please consider supporting these people who fought for the land you live on and who fought for the ideals that allow me to type this. Whether it’s here in Vinton County or someplace far away, take a few minutes to attend a service or even just to thank a veteran on Thursday.

Won’t you join us? It’s just 30 minutes of your day. The service will be held on the steps of the Vinton County Courthouse beginning at 10:30 a.m.