LANCASTER – Well over 200 people gathered in the Veterans Court of Honor at Lancaster Cemetery Tuesday morning for a ceremony honoring veterans, service members and their families.
“It is the one day of the year our nation sets aside to recognize the contributions and sacrifices of our brave men and women,” said Petty Officer 3rd Class Charles Navarro, the ceremony’s featured speaker.
Navarro spoke about the traits that define a veteran and the importance of remembering those duties that carry on after military service.
“When we leave the military, we find all too often that our new mission we must face is here at home,” Navarro said. He said the realities of civilian life may overwhelm some veterans, who then drown in feelings of abandonment and come to the false conclusion that finding help is hopeless and no one cares.
“Those are the veterans we must not forget about,” Navarro said. “We must remind those veterans that they are not alone, because the greatest casualty is being forgotten.”
Speaking directly to those veterans who may be experiencing inner struggles, Navarro said:
“The first step is yours to take in initiating the process of getting the help you need and deserve. The inner struggles you may be experiencing have been experienced by others and they cannot be seen unless you make them known. So tear down your wall… make your mind, body and soul vulnerable, because believe me when I say this, you are not alone.”
Another highlight of the Lancaster ceremony was the presentation to Hometown Hero Honorees Pat Weese (US Navy, 1961-1965) and Tracy May (US Army, 1967-1968). Both were honored for their tireless commitment to the Lancaster Cemetery District over the past five years.
“Their volunteering began with the concrete work on our Japanese Memorial and continues today… with our Veterans Court of Honor,” said Lancaster Cemetery District Manager Dayle DeBry. “We are forever grateful for their kindness and caring attitude when asked to help with any of our projects …We would have never been able to accomplish what we have here without them.”
The Lancaster Veterans Day ceremony also included the presentation of colors and flag salute by Joe Walker Middle School Civil Air Patrol Cadet Squadron 804, singing of the National Anthem led by Blue Star Mothers President Sylvia Gaxiola, and placing of the memorial wreaths by Lancaster Cemetery District Trustees.
A few sights from the ceremony