Gathering for the 29th annual VFW Post 9934 (VFW) Veterans Day Ceremony, residents, the VFW and its Ladies Auxiliary recognized veterans for their service to the nation and their local communities at Strands Vista Park on Saturday, Nov. 11.
During the ceremony, the VFW Post 9934 Auxiliary President Lisa Mers read the names of armed forces members who have died since last year’s Veterans Day ceremony, as Vietnam Veteran Bill Cordova rang out a memorial bell. Members of the auxiliary also unveiled new memorial tablets at the Park.
Mers explained that the three tablets installed at the Dana Point Veterans Memorial are inscribed with the names of departed servicemembers from the Dana Point area and the names of Post 9934 members who have passed.
“Veterans Day is a particular time to specifically recognize the service of those who are still with us as compared to Memorial Day, which is a sacred holiday dedicated to our deceased comrades,” Mers said. “That being said, we also at all times observe one of the most important articles of our charter, which is to perpetuate the memory of our departed.
The event featured welcoming remarks honoring servicemembers from Mayor Mike Frost, VFW Post 9934 Commander Ricardo Jauregui, and State Sen. Janet Nguyen’s Legislative Assistant Max Wernher.
VFW Post 9934 Junior Vice Commander Carlos Garcia, the keynote speaker, reminded attendees about the importance of being a leader and finding one’s passion, especially as veterans.
“I want to make an earnest call to our veteran community to find your passion, not just here in our local community but in our Southern California family and across the nation,” Garcia said. “Find something, find a passion, every veteran out here, you’re responsible and we are responsible for the future of our country.”
“We are leaders,” Garcia continued. “We were taught to be. We are go-getters. We are those individuals that have a firm belief in our country. We know what it is to serve so we need to go out there and be the examples.”
Garcia noted that making a difference in one’s local community could be as small as picking up trash.
“Let’s go into our communities,” Garcia said. “Let’s work with each other. Let’s find common ground with everybody that’s out there. We as veterans, U.S. veterans were taught to do that.”
The event concluded with a flyover from Camp Pendleton. Flying over the Veterans Day event were Camp Pendleton Marine Light Attack Helicopter UH-1Y Venom and 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing AH-1Z Viper.
The crafts were piloted by Capt. Alexander “SARS” Lee from Windsor, California; Col. Jeremie “Hank” Hester from Sneads Ferry, North Carolina; Maj. John “Odie” McArthur from McArthur, California; Capt. Landon Nagao from El Dorado Hills, California; Sgt. Dane “Duckling” Robison from Weaverville, California; and Sgt. Seth “Soapbox” Yarbro from Moses Lake, Washington. Also on board was retired Maj. Billy Hall.
At the close of the event, Rebecca Fischer, with the Dana Point Police Services, performed “Taps” on the bagpipes, and the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 9934 Honor Guard gave a rifle salute.