PALMDALE – A record number of people turned out for a Veterans Day celebration Tuesday at the Palmdale Amphitheater.
Presented by the Antelope Valley Service Organization Association, the annual event was held in conjunction with the display of the Mobile Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall for the Antelope Valley (AV Wall).
The program kicked off with a lively performance by the Highland High School Travel Ensemble. The students sang “For the Beauty of the Earth,” “God Bless America,” and the national anthem.
Master of Ceremonies Bobby Breech implored the audience to celebrate veterans year-round.
“Let us each remember to thank them, not only today but each and every day for allowing us to live in a free country,” Breech said.
It is also important to recognize the sacrifices made by veterans’ families, said Palmdale Mayor Jim Ledford.
“They have the same pressure that the veterans face, and maybe more so, because they live with it every day when their loved ones are no longer here,” Ledford said. “We can never, ever say thank you enough, not only to the veterans but to the families… they’re serving too.”
A highlight of the ceremony was an original poem about the AV Wall, composed and read by Carl Hernandez, Past Commander of American Legion Post 348.
“…Their names on the Wall are real, does this Wall really heal? Please, dear Lord, give me peace; this guilt I have, let it cease. The friends I have known from the past, their names on the Wall will forever last. I will come and see you more often, for you will never be forgotten,” Hernandez said, in reading the final portion of his original poem.
The Palmdale Veterans Day celebration also included the Raising of Colors by Blue Eagles Honor Guard; a Table of Honor Ceremony conducted by Highland High School Air Force JROTC; and a reading of the poem “What is a Vet?” by Viola Lawrence of the Daughters of the American Revolution.
A few sights from the ceremony