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Nearly 200 people turned out to the Sedona Historical Society to honor the men and women who have served to protect this country.

The 90-minute event was held on Wednesday, Nov. 11, to honor Veterans Day and those who served in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines and Coast Guard.


Eduard Uzumeckis, chairman of the Sedona Welcome Vietnam Veterans Day Committee, was the first guest speaker and reminded the audience of the event on May 30 to April 30. The highlight will be the traveling Vietnam Memorial Wall, which will be on display at Posse Grounds Park.

Uzumeckis, himself a Vietnam veteran, helped honor those in attendance who served during the Vietnam era of 1955 to 1975. The dozen veterans of that war were asked to stand and were then presented pins from local Boy Scouts. Uzumeckis said those who came home help represent and carry on the memory of those 58,000 Americans who lost their lives in that conflict and the 1,600 others who are still listed as missing in action.

Following World War I, Nov. 11 was recognized as Armistice Day to dedicate the ending the war to end all wars. But the transition to Veterans Day came after President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed the legislation on June 1, 1954. From then on, Nov. 11 became a day to honor American veterans of all wars.

“American effort during World War II saw the greatest mobilization of the U.S. Army, Navy, Marines and Air Force in the nation’s history [more than 16 million people]; some 5.7 million more served in the Korean War,” the History.com website states. “In 1954, after lobbying efforts by veterans’ service organizations, the 83rd U.S. Congress amended the 1938 act that had made Armistice Day a holiday, striking the word ‘Armistice’ in favor of ‘Veterans.’”

Tom Lockhart spoke on behalf of his friend and fellow World War II veteran John Cornelius, who a decade ago began an annual raffle to raise funds for the VA hospital in Prescott. To date, he has helped raise more than $200,000 — the first $500 of that coming from former U.S. Sen. Bob Dole. Cornelius, who is now 97, was unable to attend the event.

To read the full story, see the Friday, Nov. 13, edition of the Sedona Red Rock News.

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