CALIFORNIA CITY – Veterans, friends and families came together at California City Memorial park for a Veterans Day ceremony Monday. Riders from California City Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 9375 and American Legion Post 476 carried the U.S. flag and flags representing each branch of the military and Prisoners Of War and those Missing In Action in a motorcade down California City Boulevard from Neuralia Road.

Members of the California City High School Military Academy provided honor guard duties during the ceremony. Speakers for the event included Randy Moorhead of the American Legion and Mick Thomas of the VFW. Capt. Esteban V. Escobedo, Officer in Charge of the 415th Aircraft Maintenance Unit, 912th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron from Edwards Air Force Base was guest speaker.

The cessation of hostilities in World War I - at that time known as the “war to end all wars” - was declared at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month in 1918. The holiday was known as Armistice Day to honor veterans of that war and was made a legal holiday in 1938. In 1947 the holiday was expanded to celebrate all veterans and the bill declaring the holiday was amended in 1954 changing its name to Veterans Day.

“We as Americans decided to make this a day to honor all who have served,” said Escobedo. “What brings us together today and every day is that service.”

Escobedo said his grandfather’s served in World War II and one of them also served in Korea and Vietnam. He said he has uncles, cousins and nephews and friends who have served along with he and his wife who have both served overseas.

“All of us come from different backgrounds, different religions, different ideas on politics,” said Escobedo. “But what brings us together is that we all at one point raise our right hand and said that we would support and defend this great nation. Less than 1% of the American population will raise their right hand and make that oath. To all of them and to all of you and to all of those that will serve in the future I want to say thank you. God bless you and God bless the United States.”

Following the sounding of Taps, the riders carried the flags in a motorcade back to the American Legion Post for a luncheon.

The ceremony also featured a reading of In Flanders Fields by John McCrae:

In Flanders fields the poppies blow

Between the crosses, row on row,

That mark our place; and in the sky

The larks, still bravely singing, fly

Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago

We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,

Loved and were loved, and now we lie,

In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:

To you from failing hands we throw

The torch; be yours to hold it high.

If ye break faith with us who die

We shall not sleep, though poppies grow

In Flanders fields.

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