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November 16, 2010 > Military honored at Veterans' Day celebration

Military honored at Veterans' Day celebration

Story and photo by Shavon Walker

Masonic Homes of California dedicated their new veteran's memorial at Acacia Creek, Union City, as part of this year's Veterans' Day celebration. Mayor Mark Green, Councilmember Carol Dutra-Vernaci and Deputy City Manager Tony Acosta attended with members of Union City Police Department.

Acacia Creek is a continuing care retirement community located on the Masonic Homes campus on Mission Boulevard and contracts for services from Masonic Homes staff. Acacia Creek Administrator Lydia Hertzler delivered welcoming remarks followed by Acacia Creek Board member Mike Neben's introductory speech.

"We gather here, today, with you because of freedom, with many giving the ultimate sacrifice. This monument is dedicated to freedom because freedom can only be maintained by an enlightened people... May those who gaze upon this veteran's memorial go forth to forever make this the land of the free and the home of the brave," he announced to the crowd.

Chaplain Joel Ingram gave the invocation before the colors were posted by the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post #9601. Past Grand Master Ken Nagel emphasized the work of American troops to preserve the country's independence. As he spoke, a military helicopter flew past twice to salute the memorial.

"The sacrifices of our men and women will never be forgotten," he said. "We thank them for what they have done on our behalf. This memorial is dedicated to them."

Pearl Harbor veteran and survivor Mickey Ganitch led the Pledge of Allegiance followed by the national anthem. Loretta Gurley, a Masonic Homes resident, read a poem of remembrance. A moment's silence was then observed by all present and the Color Guard retrieved the colors. Irwin Fershleiser, past Grand Chaplain, gave the benediction, while Mike Neben, Michael Emerson (the District Vice Commander for the VFW) and Mayor Green made closing remarks.

"My father was a veteran. I was welling up during the national anthem," said Councilmember Carol Dutra-Vernaci who was pleased with the proceedings.

"It's one of the reasons why we're such a great country, because of the men and women who have been serving for years," agreed Mark Green.

For more information about Acacia Creek, visit www.acaciacreek.org

Another veteran's memorial is being constructed in Castro Valley by the VFW. For more information, go to www.cvvm.info or contact Michael L. Emerson at MLEmerson@aol.com.


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