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November 4, 2009 > Remember our veterans on November 11

Remember our veterans on November 11

By Ritu Jha

Fremont 'Township' will mark the annual Veterans Day celebration at 11 a.m. on Wednesday, November 11 at Lake Elizabeth at the performance pavilion in Central Park.

The ceremony is organized by the Alameda County Veterans Affairs Committee to honor those who have served the country for the cause of freedom. The total veterans' population for Alameda County is roughly 105,111 and about 9,815 in Fremont.

The guest of honor this year will be veteran, Lee E. Dauster, U.S. Marine from the Korean War. The President's representative, Lynn Flint, will be a special guest. Julie Ramirez, a well-known Blue Star Mom from Alameda County will represent mothers whose sons and daughters are serving in Iraq. Jo Cazenave, Congressman Pete Stark's Chief of Staff will read a proclamation. Mayor Bob Wasserman of Fremont will read a proclamation from the city of Fremont and Captain Stephen Metruck from the U.S. Coast Guard will represent senior military from the Bay Area.

The invocation will be delivered by Pastor Diane Robinson. A bagpiper, Ian Sherwood, will perform a selection. The Arroyo High School Band, directed by Vernon Miyata, will also participate in the event.

The Color Guard will be represented by the U.S. Army and Marine Corps Recruiters from Fremont.

So, what is missing? "The parade," says Mark Raymond Chandler, commissioner of the Alameda County Veterans Affairs, who served in both the Korean and the Vietnam Wars.
"It's unfortunate," he says.

The Fremont Township cancelled the Veterans Day parade due to the ongoing economic crisis. Chandler says people's attitudes are changing towards veterans.

"People are against the war; they are losing interest in veterans," says Chandler. He understands the sentiments of the general public. "We are all on our own."

He explains that the Veterans Day celebration has been divided in small various ceremonies instead of one big parade. "The parade was the key," explains Chandler. "Fremont was lukewarm to celebrating the parade," he adds.

Each year the parade is organized by the Alameda County Veterans Affairs and it rotates among the cities of Fremont, Hayward, San Leandro, Alameda, and Oakland. Last year the parade took place in Hayward and this year it was Fremont's turn.

"I have been getting numerous phone calls from people and they are very disappointed that this year there won't be parade," says veteran John D. White, Jr., who served in the Korean War. "It is disappointing for all of us," says White.

This year Hayward Veterans Post 870 is hosting a flag raising ceremony starting at 11 a.m. at the Hayward Veterans Memorial Building. There will be a firing of three volleys, the sounding of Taps and the raising and lowering of the flag to half-mast.

White states, "The most important thing about these ceremonies is that it teaches our young about sacrifices the veterans have made. These kids are the ones who have to carry on."

Local area observances:

Veterans' Day celebration
Wednesday, November 11
11 a.m.
Central Park/Senior Center
Lake Elizabeth
Paseo Padre Parkway, Fremont
(510) 656-4782

Hayward Veterans Memorial Building
Wednesday, November
11 a.m.
22737 Main Street, Hayward
(510) 582-9757

Wednesday, November 11
9 a.m.
Flag Plaza, Milpitas City Hall
455 E. Calaveras Blvd., Milpitas
(408) 586-3210 or
Light refreshments will be served following the ceremony. This ceremony will be held rain or shine.

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