Wednesday is Veterans Day, the day the nation honors members of the military who fought to protect and defend our country. This year’s Veterans Day observances include debuts of two different presentations about gays in the military.
The City of West Hollywood will honor Veterans Day with a virtual presentation on the city’s WeHoTV YouTube channel at https://www.youtube.com/user/pioweho. The pre-recorded presentation will debut at 11 a.m. and feature city officials honoring local veterans.
Openly gay United States Navy Lieutenant Shawn Horvath is scheduled to speak during this virtual observance. Lt. Shawn Horvath is the first cousin of West Hollywood Mayor Lindsey Horvath (their fathers are brothers).
Lt. Horvath, a Florida native in his mid-twenties now living near Washington, DC, expressed an interest in talking about his experiences in the military and Mayor Horvath put him in touch with the city staff organizing the event.
“He’s gay and wants to tell his story of why he wanted to go into the Navy,” Mayor Horvath told WEHOville. “He wants to share his experience and talk about what he’s been able to accomplish. I’m proud to welcome a smart, accomplished gay millennial serviceman to speak to his experience of being of service to his country and community. We must honor the work and sacrifice of those who fight for the rights we enjoy every day.”
While that presentation will be held virtually, the Sal Guarriello Veterans’ Memorial, located on the corner of Santa Monica Boulevard and Holloway Drive, will also be decorated with wreaths and American flags.
Also happening at 11 a.m. on Wednesday, the LA LGBT Center will screen a 21-minute documentary made by LGBT Center clients who served in the military. “Our Service, Our Stories: The Evolution of the LGBT Military Experience” has screened in ten film festivals nationwide and now will be presented online. To watch, go to lalgbtcenter.org/watch.
Because Veterans Day is a federal holiday, state and federal government offices will be closed. Most banks will also closed be, although ATMs and online banking will be available.
The US Postal Services offices will also be closed and mail will not be delivered.
Veterans Day was first observed on Nov. 11, 1919, to mark the first anniversary of the end of World War I. Originally called Armistice Day, it became an official national holiday in 1938. President Dwight Eisenhower officially changed the name to Veterans Day in 1954.
Most Veterans Day observances happen at 11 a.m. because that is the time at which the armistice papers were signed officially ending World War I.
Some people confuse Veterans Day and Memorial Day, which is held on the last Monday in May. Memorial Day honors military members who gave their lives in service to the nation, while Veterans Day pays tribute to all military members, living or dead, who have given service.
Among the many sure to be forthcoming changes to our nation’s policies I welcome under President Biden’s tenure, high on the list is the re-embrace of our transgendered sisters and brothers wishing to serve our military. We are lucky to have them, and all our other servicewomen and men too.