BARSTOW Hundreds stood in the cold and the sprinkling rain before the veteran memorial monument at Mountain View Memorial Park Friday to honor the sacrifices made by veterans, those alive and those remembered.

"Today is a day we not only recognize those veterans who died, but also those still living; those who continue to uphold the freedoms our forefathers fought for," said Brig. Gen. Terry Ferrell, Fort Irwin commanding general.

Ferrell addressed the crowd along with speakers Barstow Mayor Joe Gomez and Col. Daniel Ermer, commander of the Marine Corps Logistics Base.

"From the Revolutionary war...to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, our veterans have answered the call," Ermer said. "They have fought valiantly. They have bled. They have died for causes greater than themselves."

A resounding gratitude resonated from the many patrons present and from each speaker.
"To all our veterans we say, 'Thank you,'" Gomez said.

Many groups presented wreaths to display in front of the monument, then saluted before returning to their seats.

The Knights of Columbus wore their traditional regalia and marched from the monument after presenting their wreath.

"It's especially important to be here to show our respect to those who were there before us," one of the knights, Eddie Garcia, said. "Many of our knights are retired military."

After the memorial ceremony, many veterans attended the 15th Annual Veterans Day Luncheon hosted by the Veterans Home of California Barstow and the American Veterans Post 311.

The luncheon was held for the 191 veterans at the home as well as those in the Barstow community.

At the luncheon Ferrell and Ermer spoke, but were joined by Michael Bogdahn, deputy commander of the Maintenance Center Yermo Annex.

"Ordinary people who accomplish extraordinary things simply put, that is who you veterans are," Bogdahn said.

During the luncheon the mistress of ceremonies Barb Stanton, Apple Valley's mayor pro tem, gave a special recognition to veteran Robert Izumi, who received a Congressional Gold Medal. Describing Izumi as "humble" she told the crowd Izumi told her he hadn't done anything worth making a fuss over.

The veterans home staff also presented a plaque of gratitude to their soon-to-retire administrator, and former veteran Arthur Robles, who beamed with happiness while accepting the token.

In all, the speakers gave a call to action to continue showing support to veterans, both young and old.

"If you love your country and your freedom then put forth an effort to protect it and thank those who defend it," Ermer said.

Contact the writer:
(760) 256-4123 or klucia@desertdispatch.com