Local organizations are joining together to host what they are calling the largest Veterans Day program in Washington, Nov. 11, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Kitsap Sun Pavilion in Bremerton.
Twenty-five military booths will be on display, including vintage uniforms and vehicles. Over 1,800 people are expected to attend the event, according to a press release.
“This will be the 16th year,” Sandra Smith said, Navy League Bremerton-Olympic Peninsula Council and Veterans Day Event Committee Chair. “The first two years it was somewhat smaller so it was in the Presidents Hall. By the third year, we had already advanced to the pavilion.
At 10:30 a.m., the actual program begins with pomp and circumstance of a formal Parade of Colors. Captain Alan Schrader, Chief of Staff of Navy Region Northwest; and Guy Stitt, Bremerton Navy League Ambassador, will welcome those in attendance. County Commissioner Robert Gelder will introduce all of the military and political dignitaries, while the Bremerton High School Band will provide the tunes.
“We usually fill up the pavilion, they put out almost 2,000 chairs. In Kitsap, this [event] is basically it.”
The Bremerton-Olympic Peninsula Council of Navy League provides the coordination and funds for the event, along with 42 other organizations. This year, the keynote speaker is Lt. Cmdr. Richard Roberts USN (Ret.). He served as a crew member on P2V’s during the Cuban Missile Crisis and was subsequently commissioned as an Aviation Maintenance Officer, serving aboard the USS Forrestal, USS Enterprise, USS Midway, and USS Independence.
Smith noted that rain often deters some folks away from the event, so she is hopeful the weather stays clear on Veterans Day.
“The parking lot always fills up and then you have to park out on the grass,” she said. “Grass kind of turns to mud when it rains. I’m hoping my anti-rain dance is effective this year.”
Crazy Eric’s Drive-In will be on hand providing free refreshments following the program. A container will also be available for retiring American Flags to be properly retired.
“It takes a lot of people to put this together,” Smith said. “Other people have really stepped up.”