Town honors veterans

The nation paused on Sunday to remember the sacrifices of soldiers who have fought for America's freedom.

A national crisis in New York and a world crisis in Afghanistan mixed with the chilled air and gray skies to create a stirring Veterans Day ceremony at Overlook Park this November.

The military jets that flew over slightly before the event are now on regular patrols. Mothers who remember their husbands fighting in Vietnam or Korea now have their military sons, daughters, grandsons or grandaughters going to war.

Memories -- or what many hoped were memories -- are once again realities. America is at war this Veterans Day. It's been nearly 25 years since this country has honored its veterans at the same time a new generation is again called to arms.

"Sometimes, even in times of national crisis, we overlook the sacrifices of those who came before us," reminded Unit 22 Post Commander Keith Doroski, who spoke at Sunday's ceremony. About 75 people attended.

Two men, John Murakami and Art Iwasaki, are living reminders of sacrifice. Both men, honored with commemorative bricks at the Overlook Memorial Sunday, where members of the WWII Nisei troops.

These were Japanese men fighting for their adopted country, against their country of origin while their families were imprisoned here in America.

At one time, many of Hood River's Nisei Veterans had their names struck from a wall of honor affixed at the Hood River County Courthouse. In the face of ignorance, they served without question.

With America at war again, history is the reminder of the freedom and strength we enjoy, noted Doroski.

"This troubled time has also shown the American people in all of their strength. They have demonstrated seemingly inexhaustible empathy and generosity," he said.

"Hopefully, the impact of this annual tradition helps extend the spirit of honor and gratitude throughout this year."

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Parkdale third graders sing "12 Disaster Days of Christmas"

Welcome to your sing-able Christmas gift list. What follows is an emergency rendition of “12 Days of Christmas” – for outfitting your home or car in case of snow storm, earthquake, flood or other emergency. Read it as a simple list, or sing it to the tune of “12 Days” – you know, as in “ … and a partridge in a pear tree…” Not to make light of it, but the song is a familiar framework for a set of gift ideas that you could consider gathering together, even if the recipient already owns items such as a bunch of coats, tire chains and flashlights. Stores throughout the Gorge are stocked up on all these items. Buying all 12 days might be prohibitive, but here are three ideas for checking any of the dozen off your list (notations follow, 1-12.) The gift items needed to stay warm, dry and safe are also coded to suggest items in your abode (A) in your car (C) or both (B). 12 Gallons of Water (A) 11 Family meals (B) 10 Cans of propane (A) 9 Hygiene bags (B) 8 Packs of batteries (A) 7 Spare coats (B) 6 Bright red flares (C) 5 Cozy blankets (B) 4 Tire chains (C) 3 Flashlights (B) 2 cell phone chargers (B) 1 And a crush-proof first aid kit (B) Price ranges? Here’s a few quotes for days Three, Two, Four and Nine: n A family gift of flashlights (three will run $15-30, Hood River Supply, Tum-A-Lum) n Cell phone chargers (two will run $30-60) n Tire chains (basic set, $30, Les Schwab, returnable if unused for the winter) n Family meals ($100 or so should cover the basics for three or four reasonably well-fed days) n The home kit should be kept in a handy place near an exit, and remember that water needs to be replenished every few months. If you have a solid first aid kit already, switch out the gift idea with “and-a-sto-o-u-t- tub-for it-all …” Otherwise, it’s a case of assembling your home or car kits and making sure all members of the family know what the resources are and how to use them (ie flares and propane). Emergency situations are at worst life-threatening, at best deeply uncomfortable if you and your family are left without power for an extended period, or traveling and find yourself in a situation where you need to wait out a storm, lengthy traffic delay, or other crisis. Notes on the 12 gift ideas: 12 – Gallons of water: that’s one per person in a four-member family to last for three days, the recommended minimum to be prepared for utility outages. 11 – Easy-open packaged goods, energy bars, dried food and nuts are good things to include for nutrition. Think of what your family of four needs for three days to stay fortified and hydrated (see number 12). Can-opener also recommended 10 – If you have a propane camping stove, keep extra fuel handy. 9 – Hygiene bags: put packaged moistened towelettes, toilet paper, and plastic ties in large garbage bags (for personal sanitation) Resource list courtesy of Hood River County Emergency Management, Barbara Ayers, manager/ 541-386-1213. The county also reminds residents to Get a Kit, Make A Plan to connect your family if separated, and Stay Informed. See to opt-in for citizen alerts. Enlarge

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