SALEM - Walmart and its shoppers paid tribute to veterans both near and far and past and present by filling a flag with thank-you notes to honor their sacrifice and service.
"Every single year, we do something for our veterans. We owe a lot to them and it is our honor to give them our respect and our appreciation," Salem Walmart assistant manager Erica Miglets said Saturday.
Veterans Day is actually today, but has been remembered in the last couple of days through a variety of events in the area. City hall and federal, state and local government offices will be closed Monday in observance of the holiday.
Salem AMVETS Post 45 members gather with Calcutta VA Clinic nurse Mary Ann Novak at the Salem Walmart Veterans Day display on Saturday, where shoppers could write a note of appreciation for veterans to fill a flag outline, which was then given to the clinic. AMVETS members pictured with Novak are Past Post Commander Daryal Emelo, Novak, Past Post Commander Caryal Emelo, Second Vice Commander Oscar “Slim” Davidson and Post Commander Jim Barker. (Salem News photo by Mary Ann Greier)
Audriana Tuttle, 4, of Salem, gets a little help from her grandmother, Clarissa Tuttle, also of Salem, as they honor veterans with a thank-you note on the Flag of Thanks at the Salem Walmart store on Saturday. The retailer presented the flag filled with notes to Mary Ann Novak, a nurse at the VA Clinic in Calcutta, who planned to share it with the veterans in her care. (Salem News photo by Mary Ann Greier)
Walmart had a Veterans Day display which included the cardboard cutout of a large flag with squares where small notes could be mounted and gave customers the opportunity to fill in the blanks on the Flag of Thanks.
The flag was then presented at the end of the event, held from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., to Mary Ann Novak, a nurse at the VA Clinic in Calcutta, who spent the day as a representative of the clinic.
Some members of Salem AMVETS Post 45 also paid a visit after their own event at the post home on South Broadway Avenue where they paid tribute to veterans. Brothers Caryal and Daryal Emelo, both past post commanders, current post commander Jim Barker and second vice commander Oscar "Slim" Davidson all wrote notes for the flag.
"Honor, courage and commitment - that's what it's about," Caryal Emelo said about Veterans Day.
Davidson spent four years in the U.S. Navy and wears the insignia proudly. He said everyday is like Veterans Day because people will come up to him and thank him for his service.
Barker said AMVETS helps both veterans and the community with various projects and programs. Earlier this week, the post in Salem served as a drop-off point for donations to New York and New Jersey where people were left homeless after Superstorm Sandy struck.
"We're here to serve," he said.
Walmart also honored its own employees who served and those with relatives who have served or are currently serving.