Blackfoot Valley Dispatch - The Blackfoot Valley's News Source Since 1980

By Roger Dey

Recognizing Veterans and Their Stories


November 13, 2019

Rogere Dey

Navy Veteran Don LaRoque delivers the Veteran's Day address to a crowd of about 40 people who came to the Lincoln Community Hall for the Veteran's Day observance Monday.

Don LaRoque veered from the American Legion's prepared speech as he delivered the Veterans Day address for the annual Lincoln American Legion Post 9 Veterans Day Observance, Nov. 11.

LaRoque, who noted that Veteran's Day is a day to recognize living veterans, as opposed to Memorial Day, which honors those who have passed on, focused largely on one theme from the prepared speech: the importance of the stories veterans have. He also spoke to the relation those stories have to the sense of family veterans have with one another, regardless of their branch of service.

Roger Dey

Harry Arvidson relates his story as a submariner during World War II and his role in capturing the I-400, a Japanese "Super Sub," at the end of the war. According to LaRoque, himself a veteran of submarine service, Arvidson, 94, is the last living World War II submariner in Montana.

"What I always like to tell my family is the story of the camaraderie that I found," he said.

LaRoque said some veterans were drafted, while others volunteered. He volunteered, and said he was inspired to do so by the stories of his grandfather, his uncles and his cousins.

"Tell your stories. Tell your stories to your family, to your daughters, to your sons, to your grandchildren. Meet with groups of young people. Tell your stories." he told his fellow veterans, "This is just one day out of the year. We have 365 days a year that we can tell our story."

LaRoque also looked to the people who supported the veterans as they lived those stories. "It's just not us. It's not the guys who wore the uniform, or the ladies who wore the uniform" he said. "The people I want to thank are the families; our children who supported us, our parents, our brothers, our sisters who supported us. That's what made us keep going." (Story/photos by Roger Dey)


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