By Terry Duffy
Veterans Day 2018, observed Sunday, Nov. 11, brings new significance this year as it also marks the 100th anniversary of the ending of World War I (in addition to the nation's traditions of honoring its veterans who served in all wars, conflicts and in peacetime).
In the River Region, a number of programs, ceremonies and events will be taking place over the coming holiday weekend.
•Town of Porter Councilwoman Irene Myers announced plans for a first veterans Chiavetta's chicken barbecue and basket raffle, with all proceeds going to benefit both Ransomville American Legion Post No. 330 and Youngstown VFW Post No. 313.
The event takes place from 1-5 p.m. Saturday at O. Leo Curtiss Ransomville American Legion Post No. 330, 2589 Youngstown Lockport Road. Tickets, priced at $12, are available at the door.
"Know a vet - bring a vet. Help us with kicking off our first annual event," Myers said.
She said those who purchase tickets for the event would be entered into a drawing for a U.S. flag.
For more information, Myers can be reached at 716-799-3200.
•Residents Cheryl Lyn Suitor and Colleen Mary Summerville will hold their sixth annual "Saturday for Soldiers, Supporting Our Veterans" event, taking place from 3-6 p.m. Saturday at the Ontario House (The Jug) at Main and Lockport streets, Youngstown.
The event is open to the public. Visitors will assist in the preparation of Christmas cards and donated items intended to brighten the holidays of service men and women.
Donations of the following are requested: coffee, cocoa, grocery market or fast food gift cards, hats, gloves, scarves, socks, razors, shaving cream, deodorant, soap, toothbrushes and toothpaste.
For more information, contact Summerville at 716-531-6701.
•Lower Niagara Moose Lodge 584 presents its annual Veterans Day pasta dinner from 5-8 p.m. Saturday at the lodge, 112 S. Water St., in the Village of Lewiston.
Hosted by Lower Niagara Moose member Bob Koryl, the dinner is open to the all veterans and their guests. Entertainment will feature music by Dave Stayner. Cost is $10 per person, with all proceeds going to benefit WNY Heroes Inc.
For more information, call the lodge at 716-754-9061.
•Old Fort Niagara will commemorate the 100th anniversary of the armistice that ended the fighting between nations during World War I with special activities on Veterans Day, this Sunday.
At 11 a.m., visitors can meet historic interpreters at the fort's flag circle who will represent the Allied Forces from the United States, Great Britain and France by wearing period clothes, conducting a flag-raising ceremony, firing guns in salute to all veterans, and talking with visitors.
The ceremony's timing coincides with the effective hour of the armistice, being the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month.
Ed Jackson, an Old Fort Niagara volunteer and commander of the Lake Ontario Post 313, Veterans of Foreign Wars, will present a free program on the homecoming of the 28th Infantry Regiment after World War I. Jackson's talk is open to the public and will be presented in the Fort Niagara Officers' Club. Program times are at 1 and 3 p.m.
The fort will also offer guided tours on Sunday and Monday. The tours leave the visitor center at the half-hour mark starting at 9:30 a.m. and continuing hourly through 3:30 p.m.
Additionally, the fort's museum features a World War I exhibit specific to Fort Niagara's role in training men for combat at two camps in 1917. Entry into the museum is included with regular admission.
Admission for veterans, military personnel and their families will be free all day on Sunday. Admission for all others will be $12 for adults, $8 for children ages 6-12, free for children ages 5 and under, and for members of the Old Fort Niagara Association.
•VFW Post 313 will present a Veterans Day ceremony at 11 a.m. Monday at Veterans Park, Church and Third streets in Youngstown, adjacent to the Youngstown firehall. For more information, call 716-401-7186.
•On Monday, the Town of Niagara Lions and Lioness Clubs will honor the area's veterans with a special ceremony at the newly constructed memorial in Veterans Memorial Community Park, 7000 Lockport Road.
The ceremony will commence at 11 a.m. Town Supervisor Lee Wallace will welcome everyone with opening remarks. The color guard from Boy Scout Troop 841 will conduct a flag ceremony. Town resident Nick Cofield will perform the "Star Spangled Banner" and taps with his trumpet.
There will also be wreath presentations by the Lions, Lioness, and Girls Scout Troop 70165. Pastor Ron Maines of the Forestview Church of God will offer opening and closing prayers. The guest speaker is retired United States Army Col. Arnie Soeder. Soeder was commissioned in 1968 and spent five years on active duty as well as numerous years in the National Guard.
All veterans attending the ceremony will be presented an American flag lapel pin and Old Glory Flag from the Girl Scouts. The Girl Scouts will also sing "God Bless America." The Lions will collect American flags that are in disrepair for proper disposal. Following the ceremony, the Lioness will be serving warm beverages and pastry at the Calvin K. Richards Senior Center located in the park. The event is open to the public and all invited to join in honoring local veterans.
For more information, contact Chairperson Lion Angelo Onevelo at 716-628-0244.