A large crowd showed their appreciation to those who serve at Thursday’s Veterans Day Observance at Veterans Memorial Park, staged by Mercer-Prieto VFW Post 2043 and Korean War Veterans Ventura County Chapter #56.

Veterans Day honors those who served America

November 12, 2010
Santa Paula News

A large crowd showed their appreciation to those who serve at Thursday’s Veterans Day Observance at Veterans Memorial Park, staged by Mercer-Prieto VFW Post 2043 and Korean War Veterans Ventura County Chapter #56.

The annual November 11 observance featured music and songs from the Santa Paula High School Band, led by director Douglas Kadansky and co-director Jerry Cruz, and the Isbell Middle School Condor Chorus, directed by Donna Nelson. The American Heritage Girls of St. Sebastian Church - directed by Melissa Wodzinki - also took part in the event, offering songs and passing out flyers and programs, while the Barbara Webster Flag Team performed to patriotic music.

VFW Post Commander Albino Pineda welcomed the crowd and thanked participants including VFW Quartermaster Richard Ruiz, who organized the event, co-sponsor KWV-VC Post Commander David Lopez, and President Barbara Kroon and Soroptimist International for hosting the reception. He also offered “special thanks” to all veterans in attendance.

The event was unable to find a speaker, and former VFW Post Commander Gerald Olivas joked he was recruited for the “extra duty” the way it had been done while he served in the Army - being in close proximity to a higher ranked soldier. He noted a major observation of Veterans Day occurs each year at Arlington National Cemetery at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.

The observance of Veterans Day was officially declared to fall on the actual November 11 date by President Gerald Ford in 1975, “No matter on what day of the week.” The observance “helps focus attention on the important purpose” of Veterans Day, to celebrate “patriotism, love of country and the service” of those that have gone and continue to go to war.

Olivas said Santa Paula veterans are “very proud of all the support we give our vet programs,” and the continued support of those who served and their families. During November the VFW and KWV-VC team up for school presentations, and “We’re very proud to see the students’ sincere excitement” at the visit. Olivas said, each year “we are told the students are really looking forward” to the presentations, and “We look forward” to sharing experiences and encouraging veteran support with the students.

Journalist Jeannette Jauregui is still seeking photos and stories from veterans for a book on same, and Olivas said the Veterans History Project has also been launched to take filmed histories of service. He urged that all consider participating in both programs.

Ruiz oversaw the Roll Call and responses to the names on the Veterans Memorial Plaques, and Carl Barringer, Frank Osuna, Bill Florio and Rey Frutos answered “Here!” or “Yo!” as each name of a Santa Paulan killed in World War I, World War II, Korea and Vietnam was read. “Thank God,” said Ruiz, “we don’t have anybody from the Iraq war” listed on the monument. Lopez placed a wreath on the Korean War Veterans Memorial, followed by Father Charles R. Lueras of St. Sebastian Church.

A veteran of both the Korean and Vietnam wars, Lueras said, “We are so grateful to be members of this great, wonderful country,” and noted his appreciation that area children were playing such an active part in the program. “We are honored to serve our country, to seek peace,” said Lueras, not with weapons, but rather “with love and understanding... we strive to be good people, good Americans.”

The ceremony ended with a Rifle Salute from the combined VFW and KWVA-VC unit and “Taps” played by bugler Rudy Arellano.

“Anyone who doesn’t come,” to the Veterans Day Observance said Rosann Mears, “really misses out... and it’s especially important for kids” to experience the recognition of those who serve in war.





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