TOKYO — Tuesday is Veterans Day, one of the nation’s most somber holidays, both in its history and rituals.

This year’s national ceremony, for example, following days of special events from a variety of veterans groups, takes place at Arlington National Cemetery. The Army Band will play, and a wreath will be laid at the Tomb of the Unknowns.

The holiday dates from World War I, which shocked the world with its death toll. In its four-year duration, between 8 million and 15 million people were killed, including around 116,000 American troops, according to historians. “Armistice Day,” the original name of the holiday, honored America’s World War I veterans and also celebrated the end of the war and the hope for world peace. The legislation was passed in 1938, on the eve of World War II.

In 1954, veterans’ groups whose members had fought in World War II and the Korean War successfully lobbied Congress to change the holiday’s name to Veterans Day, and it now is meant to honor all who served.

Military bases in the Pacific are marking the day in different ways. Some have no special activities scheduled, others are planning ceremonies and recreational activities. Following is a list of some of the plans.


Atsugi Naval Air Facility: A ceremony at the White House begins at 8 a.m. The 7th Fleet Band will play the Japanese and United States national anthems during Colors. Girl Scouts will lead participants in the Pledge of Allegiance. Following will be a few short speeches, including one by J.J. Johnson from the Veterans of Foreign Wars. Hot chocolate and cookies will be served.

Yokosuka Naval Base: On Monday, Club Takemiya hosts a party from 10 p.m. to 2 a.m. On Tuesday, Club Alliance will offer free hors d’oeuvres.

Sasebo Naval Base: A 5K run begins 11:30 a.m. Tuesday in front of USO building in Nimitz Park. Free T-shirts for participants.

Camp Zama: The POW/MIA flag will be flown from Reveille to Retreat. A charity golf tournament begins at 9 a.m., followed by lunch at the Camp Zama Golf Course. Maj. General Albert Perkins will be guest speaker. Call 263-4225 for more information. A chili cook-off begins at 6 p.m. at the Veterans of Foreign Wars building. Call Richard Keeley at DSN 263-4877 for more information.

Yokota Air Base: A memorial ceremony begins at 10 a.m. at Nina Circle, sponsored by the Veterans of Foreign Wars.

Misawa Air Base: Nothing planned.

Iwakuni Marine Corps Air Station: Boy Scouts of America will do base cleanup over the weekend in honor of Veterans Day.


8th Army Korea, Yongsan Garrison: 11 a.m. ceremony at Seoul American High School, sponsored by the VFW, featuring Lt. Gen. Charles Campbell as guest speaker.

2nd ID/Camp Stanley Community Activities Center: On Sunday, free hot dogs and soda will be served at 3 p.m.; Tuesday, NFL football on big TV, free popcorn and soda.

Osan: On Monday, a family festival will be held at the Officers Club at 5:30 p.m.; on Tuesday, poppies will be sold at the main gate, base exchange and commissary.

Chinhae: No events planned.

Kunsan: Monday will be U.S.-Korea Friendship Sports Day, beginning at 10 a.m. at the soccer field.


No events planned.

author picture
Nancy is an Italy-based reporter for Stars and Stripes who writes about military health, legal and social issues. An upstate New York native who served three years in the U.S. Army before graduating from the University of Arizona, she previously worked at The Anchorage Daily News and The Seattle Times. Over her nearly 40-year journalism career she’s won several regional and national awards for her stories and was part of a newsroom-wide team at the Anchorage Daily News that was awarded the 1989 Pulitzer Prize for Public Service.

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