Photos and story by Breeana Greenberg
Members of the Dana Point Community gathered with the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 9934 (VFW) and its Ladies Auxiliary at Strands vista Park on Friday, Nov. 11, to recognize all veterans for their service to the nation.
The event featured a flyover from the Unites States Air Force, welcoming remarks honoring service members from Mayor Joe Muller, VFW Post Commander Ricardo Jauregui and VFW Vice Commander Richard Alonzo.
Local artist Andrea Sheva sang the National Anthem and VFW Chaplain Jim Lofdahl conducted the invocation and benediction.
Flying over the Veterans Day event were Air Force call sign Swag 11 pilots from Holloman Air Force Base—Maj. Trevor “Copper” Kilroy from Granada Hills, California; Maj. Dakota “Scar” Olsen from Florence, Montana; Maj. Chase “Ramm” Welch from Murrieta, California; and Maj. Corbin “Joker” Boyles from Tempe, Arizona.
Keynote Speaker Marine Lt. Col. John “Tug” Miller asked those in attendance to reflect on what Veterans Day means to them.
“To me, it’s a sacred, incredibly important day,” Miller said. “I grew up in a military family and I remember having discussions with my father about the importance of Veterans Day to him when I was a little boy.”
“As a boy, my father told me that Veterans Day is the most important national holiday because it reminds us of how lucky we are to live in a free and democratic society where women and men volunteer their lives for a higher purpose,” Miller continued.
Remembering Cpl. Nathan E. Carlson; Capt. Nicholas P. Losapio; Cpl. Seth D. Rasmuson; Capt. John J. Sax; and Lance Cpl. Evan A. Strickland—the five Marines who died in an Osprey Crash flying out of Camp Pendleton—Miller spoke about “what selfless service to our country means.”
“They each had dedicated their lives to something greater than themselves,” Miller said. “In honor of Veterans Day, I will speak their names so their legacy lives on through you, but this is symbolic of all our veterans.”
During the memorial ceremony, the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 9934 unveiled the marble, memorial tablets with the names of post members who have died. The names of service members and veterans who died since the last ceremony were also added to the tablets.
The event concluded with Rebecca Fischer, with the Dana Point Police Services, performing “Taps” on the bagpipes and a rifle salute from the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 9934 Honor Guard.
Editor’s Note: A previous version of this story misidentified the bagpipe player who performed “Taps” during the ceremony. Rebecca Fischer played the bagpipes on Friday, Nov. 11.
Breeana Greenberg is the city reporter for the Dana Point Times. She graduated from Chapman University with a bachelor of arts degree in English. Before joining Picket Fence Media, she worked as a freelance reporter with the Laguna Beach Independent. Breeana can be reached by email at email@example.com