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Staff Sgt. Donald Jones, a Marine Corps contracting officer, talks on the phone with a vendor while at the Disaster Assistance Center on Chaklala Air Field in Islamabad, Pakistan, Tuesday. Since arriving with the advance party from III Marine Expeditionary Force from Okinawa Nov. 2, Jones issued 10 contracts in the first five days for everything from cargo trucks to trash removal.
Staff Sgt. Donald Jones, a Marine Corps contracting officer, talks on the phone with a vendor while at the Disaster Assistance Center on Chaklala Air Field in Islamabad, Pakistan, Tuesday. Since arriving with the advance party from III Marine Expeditionary Force from Okinawa Nov. 2, Jones issued 10 contracts in the first five days for everything from cargo trucks to trash removal. (Fred Zimmerman / S&S)

What began with the signing of an armistice agreement to end World War I has evolved into a national holiday to honor and celebrate America’s past and present veterans and war heroes.

Veterans Day features celebrations, memorials and special events, but under the surface of celebration, the day is dedicated to the sacrifices made by all men and women in uniform.

In the annual presidential proclamation marking the holiday, President Bush stated: “Americans owe a great debt of gratitude to those who have sacrificed for our liberty and for the security of our Nation. We express deep appreciation to our veterans — the men and women who stepped forward when America needed them, triumphed over brutal enemies, liberated continents, and answered the prayers of millions around the globe.”

Throughout the Pacific, U.S. bases will mark the day with a variety of community events.

At Kinnick High School on Yokosuka Naval Base, officials will read the names of former students who have joined the military, said retired Lt. Cmdr. Kevin Mode. It’s one of the students’ favorite parts of the school’s commemoration, Mode said.

“The students listen for their friend’s names,” he said. “It reminds them, ‘Hey, these are people that you know out there.’ ”

Camp Zama will honor a combat veteran and long-time community member, the late Command Sgt. Major Jimmie Coomer. The veteran of three wars later served as command sergeant major at Camp Zama. After retiring, he managed the golf course until his death in 2004.

The base will dedicate a Long Road in the golf course in his honor before launching the 2nd annual Jimmie Coomer Memorial Golf Tournament.

Here are some of the events planned in the region to commemorate Veterans Day Friday:

JapanNaval Air Facility Atsugi: Veterans Day ceremony to coincide with Morning Colors (raising of the flag) at 8 a.m. outside the White House headquarters building (Building 66). Tim Estes, Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 9612 commander, will join base commander Capt. Reed Eckstrom in leading the ceremony. Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts will recite the Pledge of Allegiance and lead those at the ceremony in singing “God Bless America.” The ceremony will be followed by free refreshments.

Sasebo Naval Base: Veteran’s Day 5k race, 8:30 a.m. at Nimitz Park. Call DSN 252-3588 for more information.

Yokosuka Naval Base: Nile C. Kinnick High School, ceremony including reading the names of graduates who have joined the military; 10:30 a.m. in the high school courtyard. Yokosuka’s 7th Fleet Band and the KHS Show Choir.

Yokota Air Base: Veterans Day Ceremony, 10 a.m. at the JFK Memorial Monument near NINA circle. The Veterans of Foreign Wars is hosting the ceremony, at which Col. Douglas Kreulen, 374th Airlift Wing vice commander, will be guest speaker. Participants include Cub Scouts, Girl Scouts, the Civil Air Patrol, Junior Reserve Officer’s Training Corps, the Sergeants Association, Top 3 and Route 56. Contact Kevin Mitchell, VFW commander, at DSN 225-3680 for more information. The event will be held in the Taiyo Recreation Center in case of bad weather.

Camp Zama: Dedication ceremony of “Coomer Drive” in honor of the late Command Sgt. Maj. Jimmie Coomer, veteran of three wars and long-time manager of the Camp Zama Golf Course, 7 a.m. at the golf course. The dedication will be followed by the 2nd annual Jimmie Coomer Memorial Golf Tournament benefiting the Coomer memorial scholarship fund. Call Paul Wilson at 263-8558 or e-mail: cw5retwilson@hotmail.com for information or to reserve a tee time.

Iwakuni Marine Corps Air Station: Nothing planned.

Misawa Air Base: Nothing planned.

GuamGovernor’s complex (Adelup Complex): 11 a.m. ceremony hosted by the Department of Veteran’s Affairs and the government of Guam. Andersen Air Force Base commander Col. Michael Boera and commanders from Naval Forces Marianas, as well as the sailors of the quarter, are to attend.

Also, sailors from Naval Forces Marianas have volunteered to clean up the Veterans’ Cemetery in Piti.

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