Community Spotlight: Local Veterans Get Together For Annual Pearl Harbor Dinner
The annual Pearl Harbor Dinner has been a tradition in Bemidji for almost a decade. Last week, the U.S. recognized the 76th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor. Yesterday, over 60 local veterans came together to reflect on their time in service.
“We have an annual Pearl Harbor dinner. We include it as a membership dinner and also a thanking of Pearl Harbor veterans and all veterans. So, it’s a membership dinner and a celebration of Pearl Harbor Day,” says Margaret Booge, a representative of the Bemidji Auxiliary club.
The vets were treated to a roast beef dinner served by students from the JROTC at Bemidji High School. There was also a silent auction with proceeds going to help local veterans and a guest speaker to help celebrate the evening.
“The thing with veterans is we come from all walks of life – from all demographics, organizations and communities, but we all become one community as a veteran and so it’s really important to share that, to celebrate that and to understand that we’re better than just one individual here or there. That as a community we are very powerful and very resilient,” says Gary Olson, a retired colonel and guest speaker for the night.
The veterans who attended got more than just a warm meal. The night was also filled with laughter and comradery.
“There aren’t as many gatherings of this size as there used to be and it’s just a good thing for veterans to be able to come together and talk,” says Booge.
During the ceremony, vets who served overseas were recognized. There was even one veteran in attendance who was there during the attack on Pearl Harbor. Those who lost their lives during service were also recognized during a special part of the ceremony.
The dinner was a great event to top off another successful year for the Bemidji Auxiliary Club.
“It’s just a fun evening for veterans and their families to come together,” says Booge.
Vernon, a World War II vet adds, “The dinner was great. The whole thing was and the speaker, he was really good too!”
The Bemidji Auxiliary Club hosts events for veterans throughout the year and they are always looking for new members. You can find out how to join here.