CLOVERDALE -- In a country where we like to give lip service to the sacrifices our men and women in uniform have made over the years, Veteran's Day might be one of our most important, yet least celebrated, holidays.
Celebrated in other parts of the world as Armistice Day or Remembrance Day, the Nov. 11 holiday commemorates the signing of the armistice to end World War I on Nov. 11, 1918.
Here in the United States, though, it has become a day to honor all veterans who served in any era of war or peace.
Cloverdale American Legion Post 281 has been making sure to honor and serve these veterans for over 20 years with its annual Veteran's Day Dinner.
"The object of it is to honor local veterans and surrounding community veterans," post commander Paul Fagin said.
The meal is provided by First National Bank in Cloverdale and will be prepared and served by the Post Auxiliary. Dinner will be served at 6 p.m. on Veteran's Day, with a program to follow.
All veterans and their families are invited to take part.
"I guarantee it will be good," Fagin said.
He added the post sees a good turnout each year.
"Last year we had this, and it was overflowing. It was just packed," Fagin said. "We always have veterans who don't come in to the Legion."
The only area in which the post would like to see better turnout is in its younger veterans. With troops still serving in Iraq and Afghanistan, Fagin said it's important the veterans of these conflicts be a part of such an event.
"We really want to encourage the younger veterans to come out," he said.
He added that these local events are not the Legion's only function, as the organization does much to advocate for veterans and education. Legion activities include lobbying for legislation for veterans, sponsoring Boys' State, Legion Baseball, flag advocacy, work with the ROTC, Veteran's Affairs, POW and MIA advocacy and troop support.
"The Legion does so much that people don't know about," Fagin said. "Our post is sending cards to some of the troops overseas this Christmas."
But on Veteran's Day, the focus will be squarely on local veterans, all of whom are encouraged to come have a free meal as a small token of appreciation.
"It's important, especially now," Fagin said.
Cloverdale American Legion Post 281 is located at 501 S. Main St. in Cloverdale.