Oct. 13—Plans are underway to hold major Veterans Day activities in McAlester on Nov. 11, including a luncheon banquet and an evening concert by a military band.
The banquet and accompanying program will be held from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the McAlester Scottish Rite Temple at 305 N. Second St., or at the corner of Second Street and Adams Avenue. Doors open at 10am, with tours of the Scottish Rite Center available before lunch.
U.S. Army Munitions Plant Commander Col. Michael F. Hammond is the featured speaker at the event. Other activities include a presentation of the colors by the McAAP Fire Department and a swearing-in ceremony for a group of new military recruits. Additionally, military recruiters plan to set up shop in the hall of the Scottish Rite Temple, for anyone interested in joining the military service.
The banquet is free for U.S. Army veterans as well as active duty personnel and members of the National Guard and Reserves upon presentation of their military ID, organizers said. Cost for all others is $25 per person or $200 for a table. To make arrangements to attend the banquet, telephone the Scottish Rite Center at 918 423-6360.
That evening, the 77th US Army Band from Fort Sill in Lawton gave a free concert in the auditorium of the Scottish Rite Temple. Plans call for the doors to open at 5:30 p.m. for a get-together social before the Veterans Day concert, Nov. 11 falling on a Friday this year.
With a limited number of seats available for the concert, details on how to obtain concert tickets are expected to be released after Nov. 1, organizers said.
A committee meeting at the Scottish Rite Temple plans Veterans Day activities. Attendees include the Indian Nation Chapter of Scottish Rite Chairman Dennis Wilson, as well as volunteer Jeff Wolf, representatives from military service groups, the McAlester Public Library, the Town of McAlester, factory representatives from McAlester’s army ammunition and other volunteers.
Asked how the event unfolded, Wolf said the people of the McAlester area have always been super patriotic. Fort Sill and the 77th U.S. Army Band have always been so good at supporting Armed Forces Day activities in McAlester that he wanted residents of the McAlester area to have the opportunity to hear the band in a setting of concert, said Wolf, who is also chairman of the Armed Forces Day committee.
In addition to the marching band and marching band, the 77th Army Band has a jazz band and a rock band, Wolf said.
“It’s really good music,” said Wolf, mentioning the exceptional musicality of the band members. “This is very fun.”
With things coming together for the Nov. 11 concert, Wilson wanted to do a luncheon in recognition of Veterans Day.
“We talked about it and thought it would be a good idea,” Wilson said, noting that the town of McAlester wanted to get involved as well, along with the other groups.
In addition to the Nov. 11 concert, the 77th U.S. Army Band returns to McAlester Dec. 15 for a free Christmas concert at 7 p.m. at S. Arch Thompson Auditorium in McAlester, Wolf said. No tickets are required for the Christmas concert in the largest auditorium, with more details to come later.
Organizers of the Nov. 11 event are working in conjunction with military service organizers, who will also be offering Veterans Day activities for veterans on Veterans Day. Other activities include:
—American Legion Post 79 luncheon beginning at 7 a.m. in the American Legion building at 400 S. Second St.
-Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 1098 traditional afternoon dinner at 2 p.m., in the VFW building at 1426 Morris St., Krebs.
Contact James Beaty at [email protected]