The sun sparkled on the bright blue waters of Big Bear Lake on Veterans Day Nov. 11. The wind danced with the many flags around Veterans Park as people gathered to honor Big Bear veterans.
The ceremony opened with a welcome from Jim Lona, president of the American Legion Riders Chapter 584, followed by the entrance of the national colors. The flags were brought in by the Big Bear Youth Civil Air Patrol Cadets, students in Big Bear Valley who are proud to perform their civic duty.
Hearts were filled with joy and sorrow on the 11th day at the 11th hour, as the Big Bear community truly came together to honor the men and women who have sacrificed so much to preserve the American way.
Russell Lewis, American Legion Riders Chapter 584 chaplain, gave the invocation. Heads were uncovered and bowed as the chaplain asked for guidance to help those who are suffering, and to “remember all of our servicemen and women who gave the ultimate sacrifice.”
Veterans who participated in the procession were called up by branch in order of branch inception, beginning with the Unites States Army, followed by the Marines, Navy, Air Force and Coast Guard. The crowd clapped and cheered as they made their way up the aisle and lined up behind their respective podiums.
Following the procession, one veteran brought in the POW/MIA flag to remember soldiers left behind as those gathered bowed their heads in respect. All eyes then turned to the flags, hands covering hearts while servicemen saluted during the National Anthem. “The Star Spangled Banner” was sung by Voice Male and the Chick-A-Pellas, and was followed by a recital of the Pledge of Allegiance.
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