When Elden Regua retired from the United States Army as a Major General three years ago, he knew he wanted to come back to his hometown.
And on Thursday – as veterans of all branches gathered in Library Park to honor the armistice of World War I and the holiday that has become a thank you to all who served – he spoke directly to those from the community he calls home at the American Legion Post 249/Veterans of Foreign Wats Post 6311Veteran’s Day ceremony at the gazebo at Library Park.
The former Deputy Commanding General /Chief of Staff for the 8th Army in Yongsan, Korea spoke about everything from the state of politics in America today to what he hopes to see change for veterans who have sacrificed so much for the protection of their country.
“Being a retired general, I don’t take my freedoms for granted and when I’m invited I love speaking to veterans especially here in Manteca,” Regua said. “I’m typically the kind of guy who would like to stay home, but I’m also a proud American and a retired soldier and when you’re asked to do something like this it isn’t about you – it’s about he young men and women who are serving so that we can enjoy our freedoms here in Manteca.
“Freedom is something that I absolutely do not take for granted.”
As the keynote speaker, Regua referenced this week’s pivotal election that saw Donald Trump edge out Hillary Clinton to become the President-elect – the 44th President in American history.
And while he referenced that it was a polarizing campaign and that many people across the board are unhappy with how things turned out – Clinton won the popular vote by several hundred thousand, roughly splitting the country down the middle – he also championed Trump’s plans to take care of veterans once they have served and to increase the military budget that he feels is lacking and prevents deployed forced from being able to adequately protect American interests around the globe.
For Bob Gonzales, the Commander of McFall-Grisham Post 249, being a part of the American Legion and a veteran make Veterans’ Day a very special day for him and one that he is proud that he can be a part of – especially in a community like Manteca.
“It’s an honor to be able to do this because this community has honored those that served for a long time,” Gonzales said. “This day means a lot to veterans, and it’s great to see so many people come out and support it.”
The East Union JROTC served as the color guard for the event, and Legion Chaplain Dave Blanco gave the invocation and the benediction for the event.
Amanda Rosas sand both the National Anthem and God Bless America, while the 21 gun salute and taps were provided by American Legion Post 249 and Manteca VFW Post 6311.
To contact reporter Jason Campbell email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 209.249.3544.