Monday, Nov. 11, 2013 | 5:31 p.m.
They arrived Monday morning at the Henderson Veterans of Foreign War Post, about 20 veterans and a few spouses in all, there out of reverence, for Veterans Day.
They wore military-style caps festooned with VFW pins, leather vests covered with patches, and polos adorned with the VFW logo and displaying their war and years of service. They vary in branches and wars, from Korea to Iraq, but they are family, united by the blood of war.
“How you doing, brother?” a Vietnam War veteran greets members at the door.
The vets gather inside the VFW Basic Post 3848’s smoky bar, the place where they normally throw back drinks and share war stories, but on this morning, they aren’t here to drink. They’re here for a service to commemorate Veterans Day. They kill time chatting about day-to-day affairs and swapping old war stories of missions and narrow escapes, filling the room with laughter.
At 11 a.m., the service started. The group moved back outside and saluted as the VFW commander, Greg Bashaw, lowered a wind-whipped and weathered American flag and raised a crisp new one. The men and women recited a somber Pledge of Allegiance. Then Bashaw, a Vietnam War veteran, spoke.
“We must honor and pay tribute to the countless sacrifices our many veterans have made,” he said. “Our veterans cherish the values in which our nation was founded …”
Vets bowed their heads. With the references to sacrifices, some quietly nodded in agreement. After the speech, they removed their hats and a vet read a formal prayer that couldn’t be heard over the bustle of morning traffic along Lake Mead Parkway, but the vets all recited it by heart.
The service ended back inside, with bloody marys, followed by a caravan to Fiesta Henderson down the street for a free buffet. But before they departed, an Afghanistan War veteran approached Bashaw.
“Sir,” the younger veteran said, shaking the other veteran’s hand. “I wanted to say thank you.”