Yorkers will have plenty of opportunities to thank their veterans this year.
York County will kick off its weeklong celebrations for Veterans Day starting Saturday. This year, Veterans Day will begin with the county's annual catered breakfast and end at Dallastown Area High School for its JROTC Marine Corps Ball.
Sean Summers, an attorney who represented the Snyder family in the U.S. Supreme Court earlier this year, will address the crowd. Albert Snyder, father of 20-year-old Matthew Snyder, sued Fred Phelps of Topeka Kansas' Westboro Baptist Church for protesting his son's funeral in 2006.
Marine Lance Cpl. Matthew Snyder, of Westminster, Md., died March 3, 2006, in a non-combat vehicle accident while serving in Iraq. The case went all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court in 2011, when the court ruled 8-1 in favor of Westboro's right to free speech.
Summers, also a major in the Army Reserve, was awarded the Bronze Star for his service in Afghanistan during Operation Enduring Freedom. He said Veterans Day is an opportunity for Yorkers to reflect on life in America and be grateful to those who have made it possible.
"We're here waking up today," Summers said. "Maybe some of us took a pay cut or have a neighbor out of work, but we're not getting shot at today or sleeping on a desert floor. We need to appreciate the folks that are doing that and reflect on it."
There are about 36,000 veterans in York County, according to the 2010 census-based American Community Survey. About 75 percent of the county's veterans are ages 35 to 74.
Vietnam-era veterans make up about 34 percent of York County's veterans. The others are Gulf War (August 1990 to 2001) veterans (14 percent), Gulf War (September 2001 or later) veterans (10 percent), World War II veterans (9 percent) and Korean War veterans (8 percent). About 25 percent of veterans did not identify their period of service.
"York is a spirited place," York County Veterans Affairs Director Phil Palandro said.
Last year, Palandro said 1,300 veterans attended the annual breakfast at the York Fairgrounds. And later in a separate celebration, the Palandro family cooked and served about 200 breakfast meals to veterans at the Red Lion Senior Center.
"Sometimes I think Americans take America for granted," he said. "If they have the opportunity to go somewhere else and see the things veterans have seen, they should appreciate it."
Other Veterans Day celebrations:
---Mount Olivet Cemetery, 725 Baltimore St. in Hanover. 9 a.m. Saturday.
---Christian School of York, 907 Greenbriar Road in Manchester Township. 1 p.m. Wednesday.
---Prospect Hill Cemetery, 700 N. George St., noon Friday, Nov. 11.
---Pleasant Acres Nursing Home, 118 Pleasant Acres Road in Springettsbury Township. 2:30 p.m. Friday, Nov. 11.
---Dallastown Area High School, 700 New School Lane in Dallastown. 4 p.m. Friday, Nov. 11.
---Dallastown American Legion Post 605, 57 W. Main St. in Dallastown. 2 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 13.
---Red Lion Senior Center, 20 Gotham Drive in Red Lion. 8 a.m. Tuesday, Nov. 15.