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By Andrea Swayne
It was standing room only at the Veterans Memorial at Strand Vista Park on Veterans Day, Nov. 11, as a crowd of approximately 200 gathered to honor those who have served.
Brad Fowler, director of public works for the city of Dana Point and retired U.S. Navy Captain, served as master of ceremonies.
Following Fowler’s opening remarks, the Marine Aircraft Group 39 Headquarters Company Color Guard from Camp Pendleton advanced the colors, Maria Elena Banks sang the “National Anthem,” the Pledge of Allegiance was led by Lucca McCormick from Cub Scout Pack 712 and the invocation was delivered by Lt. Matthew Drayton, CHC, USN, Chaplain for MAG 39 at Camp Pendleton.
The keynote speech was delivered by Command Sergeant Major Michael J. Pritchard, USMC, Marine Aircraft Group 39, Camp Pendleton.
Also speaking were Phil Jimenez, Commander, Dana Point VFW Post 9934; Mayor Carlos N. Olvera and Terry Rifkin, president of the Dana Point 5th Marine Regiment Support Group, who along with Sharon Miller and Renee Fulk of the VFW Post 9934 Auxiliary, unveiled the memorial tablets with this year’s added names.
William Manes of VFW Post 9934 raised the colors to full staff and the VFW Post 9934 rifle team performed the gun salute and “Taps.”
The ceremony concluded with closing remarks by Fowler, a benediction by Chaplain Drayton, the retiring of the colors by the Marine Color Guard and the singing of “God Bless the USA” by Banks.