Veterans Day 2017 Celebrations

Veterans day celebrations

Free photo shoot for veterans

While taking in the festivities that celebrate the contribution of American veterans, those who have served in any branch of the military are invited to commemorate the occasion with a professional photo shoot with YellowBrickByB at Lions Club Veteran Memorial Park, 195 W. Bolivar St. in Vidor.

YellowBrickByB owner and photographer Brittani Stanley said the free public event will be held at the park from 7 a.m. until sunset.

“We will have a backdrop set up and lots of props,” she said. “There will be a place to hang uniforms safely and pose with as well.”

Each setting will include three edited photos, print release, and USB. Photos can include pets, family, or solos with memorabilia, etc. 

“They are your photos to have taken; I’m simply your photographer who will take them,” Stanley said.

Stanley, who comes from a long line of veterans, said it is her  honor to give a token of appreciation for those who risk it all for the sake of the rest of us.

“My grandfather, Gene Smith Sr., was a Navy Seabee master chief and takes great pride in his military career,” she said. “My father was in the Navy as well.

“I’ve seen so many times that veterans are forgotten or overlooked, so I wanted to simply give back to our veteran community – one simple act of kindness to say, ‘Thank you for your service to our country.’”

The holiday event photo shoot is on a first-come, first-served basis. However, Stanley said she will try to make special accommodations as needed when possible. For more information, call Stanley at (409) 779-2060 or visit YellowBrickByB online at

— Jennifer Johnson

Free car washes for veterans Nov. 11

Simoniz Car Wash is saluting veterans with free car washes, the company announced in a release.

The car wash will provide free full service car washes to all veterans and active military personnel Saturday, Nov. 11, from 8 a.m. – 6 p.m. with proof of service, including a DD214 form, military ID, veteran’s organization membership card or vehicle plates displaying POW, veterans or military medal/ribbon status.

Simoniz Car Wash has two locations in the Golden Triangle area, one in West Orange at 2917 MacArthur Drive and another location in Nederland at 3040 Highway 365.

“We are privileged to once again demonstrate our gratitude ... with this tradition. We recognize that our freedom is not free, it came at a cost,” the company said in a statement.

“We proudly salute those now serving and those no longer with us.”

For a complete list of locations, visit

Free reception for veterans at Museum of the Gulf Coast

In conjunction with its new exhibit “No Man’s Land: East Texas African Americans in World War I,” The Museum of the Gulf Coast will be hosting a free reception for all local veterans on Nov. 10 and a free Family Fun Day on Veterans Day, Nov. 11.

The exhibit draws attention to the thousands of African-Americans from East Texas who served in World War  I 100 years ago. It also shows what life was like in 1917.

Local author, teacher and veteran Juanda Bryant will be signing books at both events. During the Family Fun Day, LifeShare will be accepting blood donations. Donors are encouraged to give blood in honor of a veteran. Also on Nov. 11, the museum will be screening the animated movie “Anastasia.” In addition, there will be some activities for kids, including an opportunity to make a “Thank You” bookmark for a veteran.

L’Auberge offers vets complimentary meal 

L’Auberge Casino Resort Lake Charles will honor veterans and active duty military personnel by offering a complimentary breakfast or lunch at its award-winning Le Beaucoup Buffet during the federal observance of Veterans Day on Friday, Nov. 10. A veteran’s card or valid military ID must be presented to the buffet cashier to qualify for the complimentary meal from 8 a.m. – 2:30 p.m.

Le Beaucoup Buffet is inspired by the courtyard architecture of Louisiana and Texas. Large stucco arches define cozy seating areas and provide an architectural backdrop. An array of international choices is featured in this 370-seat buffet, open daily for lunch and dinner.

For more information, visit

America Goes To War

Sheet Music of World War I

Lamar University’s Special Collections is exhibiting a new display, “America Goes to War: Sheet Music Cover Art of the First World War,” through Jan. 15, 2018, on the first floor of the library. All of the music displayed is from the Jack Cook Collection. Cook was a beloved member of the community who is remembered as a musician who played at many restaurants. Cook was so talented he could simultaneously play both the piano and organ.

While the war broke out in Europe in 1914, America did not get involved in the war until 1917 and the music reflects this, dating from 1917 until just after the war ended in 1918.

Not surprisingly for documents that are a century old, some of the sheet music is a bit tattered or bent. Others bear the name of a previous owner, including Augusta Furchner, who was a Port Arthur stenographer as well as a lover of music.

The collection reveals the unabashed patriotism and sentimentality of the times. Women were characterized as wives, mothers and daughters devastated by sending their loved ones off to war. They were advised, “When Uncle Sam calls out your man, Don’t sigh, And cry, because you know he cert’nly can’t refuse. To hold him back might make him ‘slack.’”

The arrival of the troops back from Europe was shown with crowds showering them with long-stemmed roses, men doffing their hats, and sweethearts waiting with outstretched arms.

Handmade military blankets on display

 Lions Club Veteran Memorial Park, 195 W. Bolivar St., in Vidor, will host a slew of events and vendors centered on celebrating the Veterans Day holiday on Saturday, Nov. 11. Among the products on display will be hand-crafted blankets depicting every branch of service, according to Warmth Your Way entrepreneur Samantha Edwards. Edwards said interested parties can stop by and check out her products as she will be on site at the Orange County Veteran Memorial Park on Saturday with samples for review.

For more information, contact Edwards at (409) 670-5025 or samantha [at] warmthyourway [dot] com.

Veterans Day service at Rogers Center

Vietnam Veterans of America Inc. SETX Chapter No. 292 and Ben J. Rogers Regional Visitors Center will host the annual Veterans Day Service on Saturday, Nov. 11. The service will be at the Visitors Center at 5055 IH 10 Access Road (next to Ford Park) and begin promptly at 11 a.m.

The guest speaker is Lee Wheeler III, president of Wheeler Commercial. Wheeler served in the United States Marine Corps for 10 years and did four combat tours. He has received numerous awards and commendations during his 10 years. All are welcome to attend. A reception will follow the service.

Park entrance is free Nov. 12

In honor of both veterans and active military, day-use entrance fees for ALL visitors will be waived at all Texas State Parks on Nov. 12, the Sunday after Veterans Day.

Find a Texas State Park to visit at Camping and other activity fees still apply.