Mojave is a small town but when it comes to honoring veterans, their heart is huge.
“Memorial Day is a challenging holiday, we gather to honor those who lost their lives — it is a time when Americans stand together to say, thank you, we remember you, we are grateful to you,” said Joyce Nash, president of ‘We Are Mojave.’
Guests gathered in the Mojave cemetery were more than 450 veterans are interned.
“It is daunting to consider the tremendous sacrifices our veterans and their families have made — how can we possibly say thank you?” remarked Nash.
“The best way to honor our fallen is to care for their wounded brothers and sisters and safeguard their families.”
Using action instead of just words, Nash said there are many practical ways to honor veterans. “We must fight to strengthen the programs and services that our injured and ill veterans rely on.”
She encouraged guests to contact local representatives and voice their support for legislation that increases veteran’s access to housing, healthcare, education and employment. Also, supporting caregivers, giving rides to medical appointments, volunteering at veteran’s events, and companionship, are all practical ways of honoring veterans, explained Nash.
With the help of Leon Ryder and Ken Kendall, Gold Star Mom Hilaria Hannon laid a wreath at the “Battlefield Cross” to honor all those who lost their lives serving.
Mrs. Hannon lost her son, Marine Pfc. Fernando Hannon, 19, in 2004 during an explosion in Al Anbar Province in Iraq while serving as a rifleman with the 1st Marine Division. Fernando was the fifth generation of his family to serve in the U.S. military.
Mojave Air and Space Port Airport Operation Director John Himes was the keynote speaker for the event. He served three years enlisted in the Army Reserves and nine in the U.S. Navy as a helicopter aviation warfare systems operator. Other duties included 16 years as an officer in the Air Force. “Freedom takes willingness to serve, to sacrifice,” said Himes.
Mojave Transportation Museum President Cathy Hansen introduced special guests and speakers. “We couldn’t do it without our community queens,” said Hansen. “They were here early Saturday morning, placing over 450 flags.”
Pastor Charles Lowery offered the invocation, and Ken and Sally Kendall explained the POW/MIA Remembrance Table.
The event concluded with cookies and a flyover by retired Marine Robert Stambovsky in a T-34.