The Veterans Day Ceremony in Lancaster doubled as a dedication ceremony for the newly completed World War II monument in the Veterans Court of Honor. Seven of the men, whose names appear on the monument, attended the ceremony Monday morning..
LANCASTER – Hundreds flocked to Lancaster Cemetery Monday morning for a ceremony to pay tribute to veterans from all wars and conflicts.
The community program focused on the dedication of the newly completed Word War II monument in the Veterans Court of Honor. The monument is a replica of the one that was built in 1945, on the corner of Lancaster Boulevard and Cedar, as a memorial to Antelope Valley residents who served in the armed forces during World War II.
Throughout the 90-minute program, several speakers paid tribute to the more than 700 men and women who are listed on the newly erected Word War II monument– seven of whom were in attendance at the ceremony.
View sights from the emotional Veterans Day ceremony below.
Presentation of the Colors by Antelope Valley High School JROTC.
Stephen “Paisley” Edwards and the Hillview Middle School Cadet Band performed the “Star Spangled Banner.”
Boy Scout Troop 759 raised the Military Service Flags.
World War II Veteran/AVJUHS Class of 1938 Milt Stark said he and some 36 of his classmates were listed on the monument. The B-29 Flight Engineer said one of his classmates was killed at Pearl Harbor, another was a POW for a lengthy period of time, and another one had committed suicide after the war because he could not live with the ghosts of the people he’d killed as a Bombardier over in Europe. “These were traumatic experiences, something that we all went through,” Stark said. “And after it, you can’t imagine what this monument meant to us, as far as optimism.”
Hillview Middle School Students – Victoria Rabb, Sarah Zhang, Phillip Davis, and Madison Howell – were given the stories of four World War II veterans from the AV. The students then wrote and recited letters of what the veterans might have written home to their significant others. During the presentation, at least one of the veterans was overcome with emotion as his “letter” was read.
B-17 top turret gunner, Charlie Rader, is the recipient of the Silver Star Medal, the third highest military decoration for valor that can be awarded to any person serving in the United States Army. To accompany his Silver Star, the Lancaster Cemetery presented Rader with a Purple Heart Hometown Hero Award at Monday’s ceremony.
In a voice cracking with emotion, Master of Ceremonies Bob Alvis made a passionate plea for residents to remember the World War II generation that did so much for us. “We can name stuff after developers – which God bless them for giving us the money to make things happen – but if we didn’t have the country that we lived in right now, something they fought so hard and gave their lives on behalf of, we wouldn’t have anything,” Alvis said.
Lancaster Cemetery District Manager Dayle DeBry gifted the “Boys of the Boulevard” with new I.D. tags at the ceremony.
Christopher Parke played “Amazing Grace” on bagpipes to close out the ceremony.