VETERANS DAY: La Verne Pays Tribute to Veterans Everywhere

November 12, 2010
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Judge Advocate Dan Harden salutes while Gardenia Lapasaran sings the Star Spangled Banner.

Judge Advocate Dan Harden salutes while Gardenia Lapasaran sings the Star Spangled Banner.

La Verne paid tributes to its veterans – active, retired and departed – in a poignant and patriotic ceremony at Veterans Hall on Nov. 11.

The observation also kicked off Veterans Appreciation Month in La Verne, including a large “pass the helmet” fundraising effort, to build a veterans’ memorial on the site.

“We often take for granted the very things that most deserve our gratitude, said Judge Advocate Dan Harden. “Our nation owes a great debt to its veterans whose service to this nation stands every decade, every year and every day of our country’s existence. Whenever and wherever the nation has called, in times of darkness and danger as well as in times of peace and prosperity, America’s veterans have been there.”

Assemblywoman Norma Torres spoke briefly.

Assemblywoman Norma Torres spoke briefly.

The colors were posted by the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 12034, the Pledge of Allegiance was recited by Boy Scout Troop 411, the opening prayer was given by Pastor Roy Halberg of Grace Fellowship, the flag was raised by the La Verne Lutheran High School Jr. ROTC, and the 21-gun salute was sounded by the VFW Post led by Commander Rosendo Reyes. Then Gardenia Lapasaran led the more than 200 guests in the singing of both the “Star Spangled Banner” and “America the Beautiful.”

Norma Torres, Assemblywoman of the 61st California assembly district, shared how she is a Blue Star mom, a designation that means she has a child currently serving in the U.S. armed forces.

“I pray every day that I will never join the ranks of the Gold Star moms,” Torres said, well aware that any parent, including her, could lose a son or daughter in wartime. “Freedom comes at a great cost. Freedom is not only a soldier’s responsibility. It is each citizen of this great country’s responsibility.”

Indeed, Juan and Elsa Figueroa, Gold Star parents, who followed Torres to the dais, spoke briefly about the loss of their son in the defense of our nation’s freedom.

Other speakers included La Verne Mayor Don Kendrick, Gary Enderle of the San Dimas Veterans Memorial Project, Past VFW Commander Karl Kurtz, Pastor Lincoln Dial of the Calvary Baptist Church and Sylvia Castillo of the Mother of Iraq War Veterans.

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 Don’t forget to the “Pass the Helmet” to help build a permanent memorial to our veterans. For more information, please contact La Verne City Hall.

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