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American Legion Post 138 salutes Veterans Day

Honoring all veterans

American Legion Post 138 veterans Donna Dotelho, Rolon Hector, Roy Davis and Lew Foster are proud of the service all veterans ??" past and present ??" have performed in the country. Photo credit: J.M. Simpson

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Honor is both a noun and a verb that has the same meaning - to show great respect.

It's also a word that veterans understand implicitly.

"Veterans Day is about honoring those who have served," commented Army veteran Hector Rolon-Hernandez as we sat at a small table just inside the front door of American Legion Post 138.

"Honor is paid to veterans when people appreciate what we did, when we did it."

Begun in 1935, Post 138 is at 7515 Cirque Dr. W. in University Place.

The history behind Veterans Day begins with the end of World War I.

On the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month in 1918, Germany and the Allied nations agreed to an armistice.

A year later, Armistice Day was commemorated, and President Woodrow Wilson proclaimed that the day should be "filled with solemn pride in the heroism of those who died in the country's service and with gratitude for the victory."

In May of 1938, Nov. 11 was designated as a legal holiday, intended to honor veterans of World War I.

After World War II and the Korean War, veterans' organizations wanted a day to honor all veterans.

In 1954, Congress changed the word "Armistice" to "Veterans."  Once this change was enacted, Nov. 11 became a day to honor all American veterans, wherever and whenever they had served.

"Less than one percent of our population today serves in the military," noted Army and Vietnam War veteran Col. Roy Davis, USA (ret.).  

"It is a day that links civilians with veterans, active-duty soldiers, reservists, guardsmen and veterans to honor them for what they've done and are still doing."

Post 138 continues to serve the community.

The Post's more than 300 members are committed to working with their fellow veterans through the Heroes to Hometowns program (, a support network for servicemembers and their families.

"We've taken the lead on this in Pierce County," continued Davis. "It's a bit of Veterans Day that continues all year long."

Sitting quietly at the table and taking in the discussion was Donna Dotelho, the post's adjutant.

A pioneering member of the Women's Army Corp (WAC) who served for two years, Dotelho focused on the female veterans who have and continue to serve in the military.

"It is great that females can serve on an equal footing with the men," she said.

"But we must remember that Veterans Day recognizes all veterans, and we all should stop and think about what all our veterans have done," she emphasized.

That sounds like an excellent working definition of the word "honor."

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