Ripon’s 9th annual Community Veterans Day Observance took place Monday at the Veterans’ Wall and Museum at the Veterans’ Park in downtown Ripon co-sponsored by the American Legion Clinton McCausland Post 190 and the Veterans of Foreign Wars Nicholas P. Kukulka, Sr. Post 1051.
The opening National Anthem, America the Beautiful and God Bless America were performed by the Rykert Trio – father and daughter Joe and Noel – during the patriotic event that saw the Ripon Consolidate Fire Department display the American Flag from the top of their 100-foot ladder truck over the park. The Ripon High School’s JROTC, color guard of six, presented the colors.
Cannce Condit served as the keynote speaker – focusing on “Duty, Honor, Country” – noting it was his first Veterans’ Day Speech and his first invitation to be a keynote speaker, a member of Sons of the American Legion and newly elected councilman in Ceres.
“We have 18 million veterans among us,” Condit offered.
He noted there are 6.7 million Vietnam vets across the country, 7.1 million Gulf War, 700,000 World War II vets still living, 1.6 million Korean War veterans and 2.4 million peacetime veterans.
Condit added that some four million vets nationwide with California and Florida and Texas having the greatest number of veterans with 70 percent of them voting in past elections. He said that back in 1930 there were just 54 veterans’ hospital in the U.S. compared to more than 170 today.
“Anyone who has raised their right hand and taken an oath to protect and defend this nation should be our government’s number one priority in keeping the commitment made to each individual,” he stressed.
VFW Commander Jorge Velez said, “Every single man and woman who has donned a U.S. military uniform, by virtue of their service and sacrifice, today is their day to stand tall and be recognized by a grateful nation.”
The laying of the Veterans’ Honor Wreath was conducted by Susan Lawson, president American Legion Auxiliary, Leslie Alday, president of the VFW post, Manuel Lopez American Legion Commander and Jorge Velez, VFW post commander.
All veterans in attendance, according to their branch of service, were asked to stand and be recognized during the playing of the Armed Forces Medley – when their service hymn was played over the loud speaker – Army, Navy, Marines, Air Force and Coast Guard.
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