A quick look at some of the many upcoming veterans' events taking place around the country. Be sure to check the 'Events and Actions' section in the right hand column for the full list (lots more going on). Here are a few to share -- this first one is just too fun:
New York [Source]
Calling all smoochers: Your services are needed in New York City’s Times Square at 1 p.m. Tuesday [August 14, 2007]. On that day, the fourth annual Times Square Kiss-In takes place, and the first 200 smoochers will receive a free Dixie cup-style sailor’s hat and roses.
The event, first held in 2004, celebrates the anniversary of the end of World War II and recreates one of the signature moments in the famous square the day victory was declared over Japan — Alfred Eisenstaedt’s famous photo of a sailor bending back a nurse and planting one on her.
The event actually is meant to honor the entire armed forces. It purports to “Pucker up for Peace” — furthering the ideals of peace, love and hope — all of which, of course, is captured in that famous photo.
The event will take place on “Military Island” — the intersection of Broadway and 7th Avenue between 43rd and 44th Streets, when the Times Square Alliance invites couples from all generations to gather for a “smoochfest,” to include veterans of World War II as well as returning veterans of the Iraq War, and couples in costumes commemorating the original 1945 kiss.
Participation is free. A raffle will offer multiple prizes, with the grand prize a night for two in a Times Square Hotel, two tickets to a Broadway show and dinner for two. You can register online at for prizes. You must be present to win.
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The Georgia Department of Labor's Athens Career Center and several local veterans' organizations will sponsor a job fair for veterans, personnel recently separated from active duty and other job seekers in the area. The job fair will run from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Wednesday [August 15, 2007] at the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 2872, 835 Sunset Drive in Athens.
The event will feature about 50 employers looking to hire people to fill current job openings. In addition, some employers will discuss possible future employment opportunities and civic organizations will provide educational and other resources. Other event sponsors include the Athens-Clarke County Veterans Council and the Ladies Auxiliary. Job applicants should bring résumés and be prepared to fill out company applications and interview for available job openings.
For more information call the Athens Career Center at (706) 583-2550.
Hear Winter Park and the Fraser Valley come alive as more than 40,000 motorcycles roar to life at the 15th annual Salute to American Veterans Rally and Festival from August 17-19.
The Winter Park area will be honoring those who have served our country with “The Oldest Veterans Motorcycle Ride/Rally in the West.” The event will feature the Vietnam Memorial Traveling Wall, a veterans’ poker run, veterans parade, POW/MIA remembrance ceremony, and many more fun activities.
The Rally is host to Colorado’s largest procession of motorcycles, with thousands of veterans and patriots from around the country riding in honor of those killed in action, active duty members of the armed forces, US veterans, POW’s, and MIA’s.
The festival will feature the 12th annual High Altitude Tattoo Competition, an outdoor beer garden, live music featuring New Riders of the Purple Sage, and a variety of vendors for guests to check out.
Jeff Gay, a Minnesota Family Assistance Center director, and Carmen Brunsvold, who works with family assistance programs and is mother of Iraq veterans, have planned an honorary and welcome back event from 4-6 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 18, at Mattke Field at Southwest Minnesota State University.
The welcome back is extended to all veterans, such as those from World War II, Korea, Vietnam, Grenada and others. “It’s for all veterans for all wars,” Gay said. “We want to honor them.” Brunsvold and Gay encourage the public to attend the Aug. 18 event.
The event includes a short program with speaker Rep. Marty Seifert, R-Marshall. Seifert will present recently-returning Iraq veterans with individual certificates to thank them for their service. Brunsvold said they’d like to receive the names of those veterans who have recently returned so she can submit them to Seifert as soon as possible. Those with names can contact Gay at firstname.lastname@example.org or 530-8378.
The new 34th Infantry Division Red Bulls band the Red Bull Rider country band and the rock combo Red Devil will perform that day. National Guard members comprise both bands. Participants include the Patriot Guard motorcycle club and honor guards of local American Legion and VFW clubs.
Nearly 300 military veterans are expected Saturday [August 18, 2007] at the Twin Rivers Golf Course in Oviedo for the fifth annual Thank You Veterans Golf Tournament. That's a day of free golf for veterans, courtesy of Don Hodgskin, who set up a nonprofit organization to sponsor the event. His brother, Jimmy, was killed in Vietnam in 1969
The U.S. Senate Veterans' Affairs Committee will hold hearings in Hawaii this month on health care and benefits for veterans, and its chairman, Sen. Daniel Akaka, will also hold informal town hall meetings on four neighbor islands.
The town hall meetings are open to public comment, and staff members from the VA will be available to answer questions. Under Senate rules, testimony at the formal congressional hearings is limited to invited speakers, but Akaka will remain after the Oahu hearing to hear from the public.
Senate Veterans' Affairs Committee hearings:
» Oahu: "VA Care and Benefits in Hawaii"; Aug. 21, 10 a.m.; Oahu Veterans Center, 1298 Kukila St., Honolulu.
» Maui: "VA Health Care on Maui"; Aug. 23, 10:30 a.m.; Kalana O Maui Building, Maui County Council Chambers, 8th floor, Wailuku.
» Big Island: "Access to VA Health Care and Benefits and Outreach to the Guard and Reserve"; Aug. 27, 1 p.m., Keauhou Bay Sheraton, Keauhou II Room, 78-128 Ehukai St., Kailua-Kona.
Town hall meetings hosted by Akaka:
» Lanai: Aug. 22, 10 a.m., ILWU Hall.
» Molokai: Aug. 24, 2 p.m., DHHL Kulana 'Oiwi complex, 660 Maunaloa Highway, Kalamaula.
» Big Island: Aug. 28, 10 a.m., Aupuni Center Conference Room, 101 Pauahi St.
» Kauai: Aug. 30, 4 p.m., Kauai Veterans Center.
The Between the Lakes Chapter of Muskies Inc. will host its third Veterans Muskie Fishing Outing on Sunday, Sept. 23, an event to honor the men and women who have served the U.S. The event, sponsored by Martin Pontiac, features a day of muskie fishing on Random Lake.
Veterans, male and female, who have served the U.S. during wartime and peacetime are welcome to participate in the free event. The outing begins at 6:45 a.m. at the Random Lake boat landing and picnic area.
Between the Lakes members will act as guides and provide boats, rods, gear and hot coffee and bakery to start the morning. A fry out lunch will be held at noon. Veterans who wish to participate need to have a current Wisconsin fishing license. Space is limited. To reserve a spot, call Ted Scharl at (920) 564-3226 or Jody Booth at (920) 458-4195.
Hampstead plans to honor local veterans with a night out on the town. The Sons of the American Legion Squad 200 has been sending care packages to soldiers overseas, and now members hope to honor those who have returned to the United States. The Sons of the American Legion are grandsons and sons of veterans. Members work with the Hampstead American Legion Auxiliary Unit 200 and the American Legion Post to raise funds for scholarships, events and local projects supporting patriotism.
While the SAL supports veterans from all previous wars, this celebration dinner will be held for veterans since Sept. 11, 2001, said Mike Mandish, commander of Hampstead’s SAL. “A lot of them don’t get recognition,” Mandish said.
The dinner will start with a 15-minute program, then turn into a casual event with door prizes and possibly a money wheel, Mandish said. The 50 invited veterans are asked to wear either a shirt or cap to show which branch of the military they belong. Invitations for veterans and their guests will be sent when all details are worked out, Mandish said. The dinner is not just for Hampstead vets, but for veterans from surrounding areas as well.
Helping fund the event is Hampstead’s Wal-Mart, which has been involved in the veterans’ care packages by giving SAL discounts and donating goods. SAL will also be holding a fall dance to help fund the dinner.
The dance will be Oct. 6 at the Hampstead Fire Hall and will feature music from the Poison Whiskey Band, said Charlie Bevard, executive committee member for the SAL. Ticket prices still have to be worked out, but they will probably be around $15 each, Mandish said. While the dance is open to the public, the celebration dinner will be strictly for veterans and their guests. The dinner will be held from 4 to 8 p.m. Oct. 27. “It should just be a fun night out,” Mandish said.
If you have an event you'd like to share, please email me (it does take me a matter of days at times to get back to all emails, but I do try to answer them all within my available time limits to help spread the word on your event).