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Veterans Day observances set

A mix of veterans representing all war eras are expected to take in the annual West Fargo VFW Post 7564 and Auxiliary sponsored Veterans Day celebration set for Wednesday, Nov. 11, at the clubrooms at 308 Sheyenne St.

The observance will get underway with a special flag raising ceremony conducted by the Color Guard at 11 a.m. in front of the VFW.

Those attending will then move indoors for a special program that will begin with a second Color Guard flag presentation conducted by the West Fargo AmVets Post No. 8. The West Fargo High School Band will provide the music.

Keynote speaker will be Staff Sergeant Steve Hoikkala, North Dakota East Area Coordinator of the Military Funeral Honors Program for the North Dakota Army National Guard.

Hoikkala has been serving full-time in the guard for eight years; with over 30 years of military service to this credit, including a deployment to Iraq.

His talk will focus on the importance of Veterans Day and what it means to be a veteran and basically be a thank you to those who have served and currently serve and their families supporting them.

"I will speak not only about the importance of celebrating veterans on Veterans Day but about taking the time to celebrate them every day for what they are currently doing for us in Iraq, Afghanistan and Kosovo and other parts of the world," Hoikkala said. "We all really need to have an appreciation for what the day means and what it should mean for us as a community."

Following Hoikkala's presentation, activity will continue throughout the afternoon, accented by free stew for everyone, with serving to begin around 4 p.m., and additional entertainment by the Red River Valley Concert Band performing around 7 p.m.

Doors at the West Fargo VFW will open at 10 a.m. and remain open until 1 a.m.

In Harwood, the American Legion encourages all area veterans to stop in to celebrate Veterans Day and also enjoy stew, with serving to begin at 4 p.m. Regular evening activities will follow the meal, including Wednesday night bingo.

The legion, located at 101 Benefit Lane, will be open from noon to 1 a.m.