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Fairchild Airmen celebrate Veterans Day

Retired Staff Sgt. Allen G. Wood, United States Army, celebrates during a Veterans Day celebration Nov. 12, 2016, at the Spokane Veterans Home. Wood was honored by the Combat Veterans Motorcycle Association for his years of service in the U.S. Army with the presentation of a handmade shadow box displaying medals received during the time of his service. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Mackenzie Richardson)

Retired Staff Sgt. Allen G. Wood, United States Army, celebrates during a Veterans Day celebration Nov. 12, 2016, at the Spokane Veterans Home. Wood was honored by the Combat Veterans Motorcycle Association for his years of service in the U.S. Army with the presentation of a handmade shadow box displaying medals received during the time of his service. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Mackenzie Richardson)

Col. Ryan Samuelson, 92nd Air Refueling Wing commander, speaks with Jerry Herker, Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 51 commander, during a Veterans Day ceremony Nov. 11, 2016, at the Spokane Arena. Samuelson spoke with local veterans and surviving family members of soldiers killed in the line of duty. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Ryan Lackey)

Col. Ryan Samuelson, 92nd Air Refueling Wing commander, speaks with Jerry Herker, Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 51 commander, during a Veterans Day ceremony Nov. 11, 2016, at the Spokane Arena. Samuelson spoke with local veterans and surviving family members of soldiers killed in the line of duty. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Ryan Lackey)

Col. Matthew Fritz, 92nd Air Refueling Wing vice commander, speaks during a Veterans Day event Nov. 11, 2016, at Fort George Wright Cemetery, Spokane. Team Fairchild Airmen, along with local community members, honored current and past veterans for their service and dedication to the United States. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Nick J. Daniello)

Col. Matthew Fritz, 92nd Air Refueling Wing vice commander, speaks during a Veterans Day event Nov. 11, 2016, at Fort George Wright Cemetery, Spokane. Team Fairchild Airmen, along with local community members, honored current and past veterans for their service and dedication to the United States. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Nick J. Daniello)

Col. Ryan Samuelson, 92nd Air Refueling Wing commander, speaks during a Veterans Day event Nov. 11, 2016 at Felts Field Honor Point Museum, Spokane. The event was to honor all veterans and included speeches from the Honorable David Condon, Mayor of Spokane, and the keynote speaker Rear Adm. Doug Asbjornsen, U.S. Naval Air Reserve. This was the first year the event was held at the new Honor Point Museum and had more than 600 people in attendance. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Taylor Shelton)

Col. Ryan Samuelson, 92nd Air Refueling Wing commander, speaks during a Veterans Day event Nov. 11, 2016 at Felts Field Honor Point Museum, Spokane. The event was to honor all veterans and included speeches from the Honorable David Condon, Mayor of Spokane, and the keynote speaker Rear Adm. Doug Asbjornsen, U.S. Naval Air Reserve. This was the first year the event was held at the new Honor Point Museum and had more than 600 people in attendance. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Taylor Shelton)

FAIRCHILD AIR FORCE BASE, Wash. -- Nov. 11 is known around the United States as Veterans Day, intended to honor and give thanks to military service members for their sacrifice, dedication and service to the nation.

Fairchild celebrated Veterans Day by participating in numerous events including ceremonies at the Spokane Arena, Felts Field Honor Point Museum, Fort George Wright Cemetery, Spokane Veterans Home and Cheney Middle School. Fairchild leaders spoke to more than 800 veterans and family members throughout the weekend’s celebrations.

“[Veterans] proudly served in the past, they proudly serve today and because of our nation’s belief in securing a more perfect union, defending justice, ensuring domestic tranquility, providing for the common defense, promoting the general welfare and securing the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our future; they will continue to serve,” said Col. Ryan Samuelson, 92nd Air Refueling Wing commander. “Their actions have protected the foundation of freedom on which our nation was formed.”

Washington is home to nearly 600,000 veterans: 223,000 Gulf War Veterans, 201,000 Vietnam-Era Veterans, 37,000 Korean Conflict Veterans, 17,000 World War II Veterans, 138,000 Peacetime Veterans and more than 2 million military family members.

Retired Staff Sgt. Allen G. Wood is one of the 17,000 WWII Veterans living in Washington. He began serving in the U.S. Army in November 1942 as a private first class. Wood left the service as a staff sergeant nearly four years later with a Purple Heart, Bronze Star and WWII Victory Medal.

“I am so thankful for the men and women still serving today,” said Wood. “They continue to protect Spokane and the U.S., and for that I am grateful.”

Known today as “Veterans Day,” Nov. 11 is the anniversary of the armistice, or truce, signed between Germany and allied nations during World War I, officially ending the war and recognizing Nov. 11 as “Armistice Day.” In 1954 during World War II, after the largest mobilization of service men in the history of the U.S., the day was officially changed to “Veterans Day.”

“While history can be said to make us smarter, it is heritage that makes us prouder,” Samuelson said. “When your heritage is filled with the tremendous acts of courage, sacrifice, duty, honor and determination by our amazing patriots we call veterans, it is a heritage to be proud to have.”