By Cathy Hansen, special to Aerotech News
Beautiful November weather with light winds greeted veterans and supporting citizens at the Veterans Day Ceremony in Legacy Park at Mojave Air and Space Port, Nov. 11.
The annual event is sponsored by Mojave Transportation Museum Foundation, Mojave Chamber of Commerce and Mojave Air and Space Port.
Al Hansen displayed veteran aircraft, including a North American T-28B and Canadair Mk VI (F-86) Sabre.
Keynote speaker was U.S. Air Force Veteran James Peck, who served with the 562nd U.S. Air Force Band in Van Nuys for nine years, playing the saxophone and clarinet. While serving, he earned his teaching degree in music and taught at local Southern California schools for 36 years.
Ever the teacher, Peck’s talk centered on the history of Veterans Day and the wars America was involved in. “As you know, Nov. 11 was called Armistice Day, because it was the day in 1918 that the Armistice was signed between the Allies and Germany ending World War I, the ‘War to end all Wars.’
“In 1954, President Eisenhower changed the name of the day to Veterans Day to honor veterans of all wars,” Peck said.
“Was World War I the war to end all wars? No, we now have 20/20 vision of the history of the wars we were involved in,” said Peck.
Veterans Day coordinator and emcee, Cathy Hansen, reminded everyone that Nov. 10 was the 245th birthday of the U.S. Marine Corps and that we celebrated the dedicated service of Marines who, for nearly two and a half centuries, have upheld a proud legacy of Honor, Courage, and Commitment.
Pastor Charles Lowery, Vietnam veteran, 101st Airborne U.S. Army, led the Invocation and closing prayers, Air Force veteran Timothy Lomba sang the National Anthem and God Bless America.
Peck also surprised everyone with a saxophone solo of America the Beautiful, after Sally and Ken Kendall gave a meaningful presentation of the POW/MIA Tribute. Ken is a Vietnam veteran and served with the U.S. Marine Corps.
Congressman Kevin McCarthy sent a letter in which he said, “Our nation is a country that embodies the freedoms of its citizens. The brave individuals who chose to answer our nation’s call to protect our freedoms and democracy and liberate and protect the freedoms of others around the world are to be commended. The noble duty to defend family, friends and neighbors is one very few of us make and one we all are indebted to honor.
“It is admirable that we have so many of these patriots living in our community. May we show, today and every day, our sincere appreciation to those who have valiantly served.
Even with their many accomplishments in uniform, they continue to live out their lives with remarkable humility and grace.”
The letter concluded, “Our veterans are heroes, and our nation is grateful for their sacrifices. We thank you for your service to our country. May God bless each of you and continue to bless America.”
Kern County Second District Supervisor Zack Scrivner’s Field Representative, Joshua Foster, offered appreciation to all veterans and noted the many Kern County veterans who have served our nation.
Tami Kelley reminded everyone of the Wreaths Across America project that will take place at cemeteries all over the country. On Dec. 19, she will head up the wreath laying ceremony at Mojave Cemetery, where more than 400 veterans are buried.