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Ceremony Celebrates Veterans' Sacrifices

Vienna's chapter of the American Legion commemorates Veterans Day.

The story about the four chaplains sacrificing their lives as their ship sank is recalled every Veterans' Day.

"The American Legion has been honoring them for years," said Shirley Martin, a lifelong Vienna resident and president of the American Legion Auxiliary.

Despite the rain, local veterans headed to the Legion hall on Center Street Monday to commemorate those who have died in service, veterans still living today, as well as those serving in the armed forces. About 50 people attended the ceremony, which included the playing of taps and the salute to the flag. They also honored those missing in action with an empty chair, symbolizing those lost.

The address by Daniel Dellinger, past state commander for Legion, talked about the importance of thanking today's veterans for their work.

"My message was, where are all the people? It seems that today, they're at the mall or at work," said Dellinger in an interview after the ceremony. "They're not thanking veterans for their service."

Dellinger suggested that people could thank veterans in many small ways, such as flying a flag, visiting family, or just thanking a veteran. The act needn't take the whole day, Dellinger said. He cited an example in Indianapolis, where children wrote thank you notes to veterans shut in at the VA hospital.

Citizens should observe Veterans Day "even if it's attending a remembrance ceremony here at the Legion, or at their local church," Dellinger said.

Post 180 commander Charles J. Nackos, 79, agreed. From 1945 to 1946, Nackos served in the army to fight in World War II.

"If it wasn't for the veterans, we wouldn't have this country," Nackos said.

People should thank veterans "out of respect of the men and women who lost their lives for this country," agreed Martin.

Veterans' Day occurs on Nov. 11 because at 11 a.m. on Nov. 11, 1918, World War I ended. Originally called Armistice Day, the holiday was established 1926. It changed its name to Veterans' Day in 1954 to commemorate those who fought in World War II and the Korean War. The Marine Corps also celebrates its 81st birthday on Nov. 10.

The American Legion chapter in Vienna annually celebrates Veterans' Day, as well as Memorial Day in May. The chapter, 700 members strong, also sponsors youth sports and raises money for local charities.