On March 1, the Douglas County Veterans Day Parade Committee will begin planning for the 2017 Veterans Day Parade. The annual event is one of two major parades in Douglas County; the other being the Reedsport Memorial Weekend Parade, which is also in the planning stages. These parades bring together local service clubs, organizations, bands, businesses and citizens for an event everyone can enjoy.

Now is the time to start figuring out how you’d like to participate. Volunteers are always appreciated, entries are always in demand and spectators are always welcome. Don’t have a vehicle or float? Walk the route and wave a flag. Seeing everyone lining the streets, the children waving and people clapping, is an experience you won’t soon forget.

The Reedsport Memorial Weekend Celebration will be held the weekend of May 28 and 29. For more information, visit www.reedsportmemorialparade.org or call 541-271-4281. The Douglas County Veterans Day Parade will be held Saturday, Nov. 11. More information will be provided in future columns.

Mark your calendars for the Battlefield Cross installation ceremony at 10:30 a.m. Saturday, March 4, at the VA Clinic main entrance on the Roseburg VA campus.

Several years ago, Jack Flowers attended a similar installation ceremony, and determined to bring a memorial to Douglas County. After receiving permission from the local Vietnam Veterans of American Umpqua Chapter 805, Flowers organized a fundraiser selling calendars – you may have seen him in late 2015, standing in the cold rain, selling his calendars to everyone kind enough to stop by.

But as special as this ceremony is to Flowers, it’s also of special significance to local veterans. Every time a veteran goes to the VA for health care, they’ll see the Battlefield Cross and know they live in a community that cares.

I hope you’ll attend the ceremony and show your support.

The Welcome Home Vietnam Veterans Dinner will be held at 6 p.m. Saturday, March 25, at the Elks Lodge at 749 Jackson.

The dinner honors the service of Vietnam veterans. There will be time to socialize, have a great meal and enjoy an auction. Local businesses have been very generous with their donations to past auctions and this year should be even better. Best of all, one of the funniest people you’ve ever heard will emcee the event, ensuring everyone has a roaring good time.

Tickets are $25 per person, and must be purchased in advance. To purchase tickets, contact Linda Mooney at 541-817-7646, or stop by the Vietnam Veterans of America Umpqua Chapter 805 office on the Roseburg VA campus.

God bless our veterans and God bless America.

Do you have information of interest to Douglas County veterans? Contact me at jd.mcdonald.jd@gmail.com or 541-580-6178. I’m a combat veteran with more than 18 years of military service. I serve in the Oregon National Guard. I’m also a member of the Douglas County Veterans Forum, the Douglas County Veterans Advisory Committee, the Patrick W. Kelley VFW Post 2468 and the Earle B. Stewart American Legion Post 16.

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