Yorkers will have plenty of opportunities to thank their veterans this year.
The week of commemoration will begin Wednesday with a prayer ceremony at the Christian School of York and wrap up Tuesday, Nov. 15, when the county's Veterans Affairs director personally cooks breakfast at the Red Lion Senior Center.
The county's largest celebration will be on Veterans Day, Friday, when the public will gather for the annual Veterans Day breakfast ceremony at the York Expo Center. Last year, about 1,300 veterans attended.
Sean Summers, an attorney who represented the Snyder family in the U.S. Supreme Court earlier this year, will address the crowd at the annual breakfast. Albert Snyder, father of 20-year-old Matthew Snyder, sued 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, where 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. 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 Friday. "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."
Local veterans: 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.
And to show his appreciation, Palandro and his family will personally cook and serve breakfast meals to veterans at the Red Lion Senior Center the Tuesday following Veterans Day. Last year, the Palandros served about 200 meals.
"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."
Ceremonies: Other Veterans Day ceremonies:
---Christian School of York, 907 Greenbriar Road in Manchester Township, 1 p.m. Wednesday.
---Prospect Hill Cemetery, 700 N. George St., noon Friday.
---Pleasant Acres Nursing Home, 118 Pleasant Acres Road in Springettsbury Township, 2:30 p.m. Friday.
---Dallastown Area High School, 700 New School Lane in Dallastown, 4 p.m. Friday.
---Dallastown American Legion Post 605, 57 W. Main St. in Dallastown, 2 p.m. Sunday.
---Red Lion Senior Center, 20 Gotham Drive in Red Lion, 8 a.m. Tuesday, Nov. 15.