Monday is Veterans Day.
Cooper was active duty in the Air Force in the Vietnam War era. He said the legion advocates for veterans issues, provides a place for vets to get together and talk, and helps connect them with services.
And on Monday, “On the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month, the armistice ending World War I was signed. And this year, on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month, we will have a ceremony in Centennial Hall honoring veterans,” he said.
Coast Guard Rear Adm. Matthew Bell, commander of District 17, will be the featured speaker.
Cooper said the issues Alaska vets face are similar to veterans everywhere: injuries, post-traumatic stress, dealing with the federal Veterans Administration. He said there’s a huge need, and that the VA is gradually getting up to speed to meet it.
Cooper said there have been good stories, too.
“I do know a number of people have gotten significant help with their problems, including surgeries that are necessary from injuries received while they were on active duty. Those are successes,” he said.
Cooper also shared some advice for how to observe the holiday.
“If you’re a member of any military organization — Alaska Native Vets, Military Order of the Purple Heart, (Disabled American Veterans), any of those organizations that require you to be a veteran — wear your head gear and show off that you’re proud of what you are.”
For non-vets, Cooper suggests showing up at some events to show support to vets and their families, and to thank them for their service.
In addition to the ceremony at Centennial Hall, there are several other Veterans Days events coming up in Juneau:
- VFW Taku Post 5559 is holding an 8K race at 9 a.m. Saturday that starts at the Brotherhood Bridge.
- The Juneau chapter of Veterans for Peace has a ceremony planned outside the state Capitol building at 10:30 a.m. Monday.
- The American Legion is also hosting a public open house with free chili at its lodge at Mile 13 at 11:30 a.m. Monday.