By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Hundreds gather for Ripon ceremonies
top vet
First Lieutenant Kara Siepmann, commander, 69th Public Affairs Detachment, California National Guard was Mondays keynote speaker at the Veterans Day activities. She is a graduate of Sierra High School with 10-year tenure in the U.S. Military. - photo by GLENN KAHL/The Bulletin

Ripon’s Veterans’ Day ceremonies were nestled in a park-like campus flanked by a Memorial Wall of names of those who have served from the community and the historic military museum that contains countless artifacts from all the U.S. involved wars of the past.

Drawing an overflow crowd, the Monday event was sponsored jointly by the Veterans of Foreign Wars Nicholas P. Kukulika, Sr., Post 1051 and the American Legion, Clinton McCausland Post 190.  American Legion post adjutant James Moore served as master of ceremonies.

Uniformed and armed members of the Ripon High School JROTC Color Guard posted and retired the colors before a couple hundred in the audience of young and old alike.  Father Jeff Wilson, pastor of St. Patrick’s Catholic Church gave the invocation.

To the background music of the Armed Forces Medley, veterans from the different services from Army to Marines and Coast Guard were asked to stand representing their military allegiance.

 Placing of the Veterans’ Honor Wreath was Bonnie Nutt, president of the American Legion Auxiliary and Terry Emslie president of VFW Post 1051 Ladies Auxiliary.  Taking the wreath from the ladies and setting it in front of the memorial statues were Ernest Tyhurst, commander, American Legion Post 190 and John Franscella, Commander, VFW Post 1051.

Singing first The National Anthem and later “America the Beautiful” was the Ripon High School Dream Catchers Choir led by director Adam Serpa.

Keynote speaker was 1st Lieutenant Kara Siepmann, commander, 69th Public Affairs Detachment, California National Guard.

A native of Manteca and a 2002 graduate of Sierra High School, she enlisted in 2003 in the National Guard as a print and photo journalist.  She was assigned to Kuwait in 2005 to 2006 in Operation Freedom as a non-commissioned officer public affairs specialist.

She also served as public information officer at the state headquarters and personnel officer for the 40th Infantry Division.  She is a graduate of the Defense Information School and California State University, Sacramento, receiving her commission into the Adjutant General’s Corps in 2009.

Lt. Siepmann’s awards include Army Commendation Medal with one Oak Leaf Cluster, the Army Achievement Medal, the Air Force Achievement Medal, the National Defense Service Medal and many others.  She has been married to her husband John for three years and he is currently deployed to Afghanistan.

“I want to thank all the men and women who have served this nation with courage, determination and distinction from World War II until today and currently in Iraq and Afghanistan.  You have served in times of war and in times of peace – an all volunteer force right from the beginning and part of a proud tradition that stretches back more than two centuries,” she said.

Lt. Siepmann noted that the American National Guard has been a safeguard to the nation for some 376 years starting in the colonial era. 

“Together we don’t mark this day each year as a celebration of victory, but rather as a celebration of those who made victory possible.  It’s a day during which we keep our minds on the brave men and women of this young nation – generations of them who above all else believed in and fought for a set of ideals.  We keep the story of their sacrifice alive through our remembrance,” she acknowledged.

“Not only did they hold these beliefs above their own goals and ideals, but they laid aside their jobs, their comfortable home lives as well as their own personal security so that many more citizens in this country could regain a sense of security in the aftermath of terrorist strikes,” she said, “giving others a chance for a better life.”

Pastor Chris Williams of Heartland Community Church offered the Benediction with the dispersal song “God Bless America” led by American Legion Chaplain Bill Hunter.