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Kitsap honors its veterans

A Marine pays tribute at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall in Washington, D.C. - Indradi Soemardjan / Courtesy
A Marine pays tribute at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall in Washington, D.C.
— image credit: Indradi Soemardjan / Courtesy

Nov. 11 is Veterans Day, a federal holiday.

Local organizations join together to host the largest Veterans Day program in Washington state beginning at 9 a.m., at the Kitsap County Fairgrounds pavilion.

Admission is free.

Twenty-four booths will display military related items, including vintage military uniforms and vehicles.

The program begins at 10:30 a.m. with the Parade of Colors. Rear Adm. Dietrich Kuhlmann, commander, Submarine Group Nine, and Guy Stitt, Bremerton Navy League ambassador, will serve as the co-masters of ceremonies.

Keynote speaker: Lourdes E. Alvarado-Ramos, director of the state Department of Veterans Affairs. She formerly served as superintendent of the state’s veterans homes, and served 22 years on active duty, retiring in August 1993 as command sergeant major and troop command sergeant major of Madigan Army Medical Center at Fort Lewis.

Her military awards and decorations include the Legion of Merit, Order of Military Medical Merit, Expert Field Medical Badge and  Meritorious Service Medal.

Other speakers: Rep. Derek Kilmer, D-Bremerton; and Alexandra Fastle of Sen. Patty Murray’s office.

Crazy Eric’s Drive-In will provide free refreshments; Costco will provide free cake.

At 10 a.m. in Suquamish, the Suquamish Warriors host a day of special presentations, recognitions and dinner. The day begins with a continental breakfast in the House of Awakened Culture. At 11 a.m., participants will gather at the Veterans Memorial for an honoring. At noon, the observances return to the House of Awakened Culture for dinner, special recognitions and presentations. The colors will be retired at 4 p.m.

On Nov. 19 at noon, the late Master Sgt. Woodrow W. Keeble, Medal of Honor recipient, will be the focus of the American Indian/Alaskan Native Heritage Month presentation at the Naval Undersea Museum, Keyport. The presentation is hosted by Naval Undersea Warfare Center Division, Keyport.

Master Sgt. Keeble, of the Sisseton Wahpeton Oyate, served in World War II and the Korean War.

In 1951, Master Sgt. Keeble was injured in battle Oct. 15, 17, 18 and 20. He refused to spend time recovering from his wounds because he did not want to leave his men to fight on their own. On Oct. 20, while suffering from two rifle wounds to his left arm, a badly twisted knee and a facial wound from a grenade that almost took off his nose, Master Sgt. Keeble destroyed three enemy machine gun bunkers and killed seven more enemy soldiers in nearby trenches.

The soldiers with whom he fought in Korea twice nominated him for the Medal of Honor, however, the paperwork was lost both times. Although Master Sgt. Keeble died in 1982, his family, fellow soldiers and elected officials from North and South Dakota continued their work to recognize Master Sgt. Keeble.

President George W. Bush signed the authorization in 2008, 57 years after his heroic actions.

This event is free and open to the public. Contact NUWC Keyport’s Public Affairs Office at 360-396-2699 or kypt_pao@navy.mil.

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