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Lathrops first Veterans Day at memorial
Lathrop High School’s JROTC Color Guard posted the colors during the first Veterans Day ceremonies held at the Veterans Memorial dedicated last year at Valverde Park. - photo by ROSE ALBANO RISSO

LATHROP – For the first time, Lathrop was not a part of the Veterans Day ceremonies in Manteca. That’s because Lathrop, which dedicated its state-of-the-art and long-awaited Veterans Memorial at Valverde Park in November last year, for the first time had its own ceremonies in honor of those who served their country.

The day’s keynote speaker was Aaron Bazan, Commanding Officer of the Stockton Young Marines, with Mayor Kristy Sayles doing the honors of introducing the honored guest.

Posting the colors were members of the Lathrop High School JROTC Color Guard who were accompanied by program instructor Lt. Col. (ret.) Venjie Goes.

The invocation and benediction were led by Lighthouse Community Church Pastor Tim Voogd, with Eagle Scout Christopher Gardner leading the Pledge of Allegiance.

The program started at the “11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month,” as described by Arnita Montiel who chaired the Veterans Day celebration.

“This is the first time we are having our very own Veterans Day ceremonies,” said a happy and proud Montiel.

The veterans’ memorial was part of the rehabilitation and expansion of the Manuel Valverde Park last year which cost more than $3 million which included a state-of-the-art interactive water feature and rose garden right next to the memorial.

This year’s Veterans Day committee was made up of Bazan, Tamara Edwards, Kenneth Mullins, John Serpa, Gaye Valadez, and Kevin Wallace with Montiel as chairwoman.