Community turns out to honor local veterans at Spokane Arena

SPOKANE, Wash. - Former service men and women were honored across the country for Veterans Day on Friday, and one of the places that honored our local military heroes was the Spokane Veterans Memorial Arena.

The annual community Veterans Day ceremony held at the arena aims to 'honor all who served,' and this year featured guest speakers Col. Ryan R. Samuelson who is the Commander of Fairchild Air Force Base, Spokane Mayor and U.S. Army veteran David Condon, as well as other local veterans.

If you weren't twenty minutes early to the ceremony, you weren't guaranteed a seat as a couple hundred citizens turned out to show support for those who served.

"Eleanor Roosevelt said; 'the Marines I have seen around the world have the cleanest bodies, the filthiest minds, the highest morale and the lowest morals of any group of animals I have ever seen. Thank God for the United States Marine Corps,'" said Master of Ceremonies Nick Sangil.

Former Marines joined their Army, Air Force, Coast Guard and Navy counterparts this morning in an hour long tribute to eachother's sacrifices. Joining them were countless friends, family and community supporters.

Col. Ryan Sameulson began his address with thanks to those in attendance. "Ladies and gentlemen, thank you for being here today to show your support to not just our veterans, but to your nation."

Struck by the turnout at the event, he continued, "this is not in my speech but as I came up here I turned around and I was moved. I was literally overcome with some emotion because I looked around and I said 'only in a community like this would I turn around and look and we have standing room only for an event like this.' Thank you very much."

The emotional service included individual branch salutes from the 560th Retired Military Veterans Band.

Finally, Mayor David Condon stressed the value of expressing gratitude to veterans.

"Thank you. Two simple words. Personal and humble. Full of gratitude and appreciation of action for someone else's benefit. That is what Veterans Day is all about. Thank you veterans. God bless you and God bless America."

The service concluded with taps and a twenty one gun salute, followed by veterans and their families congregating together long after the ceremony was over.