Saturday was sunny and clear, with a little bit of a November chill in the air … but that didn’t stop the crowd from turning out for a couple of special events around the Escalon community.
In fact, Saturday, Nov. 11 featured plenty of local observances for Veterans Day, starting with a downtown parade at 10:30 a.m.
Following the parade, which also included a flag raising and lowering ceremony at the historic Main Street Park caboose, attendees adjourned to the city’s Community Center. There, at the Veterans Memorial Wall, a ceremony was held to thank veterans for their service, remember their sacrifice and honor them for their contributions.
Guest speaker, Congressman Jeff Denham, urged those in attendance not to wait for Veterans Day to thank a veteran.
“Our men and women stood strong for this country,” Denham said.
An Air Force veteran himself, Denham said every war has been different and every veteran has come home changed in some way.
“Our VA must deliver world class health care,” he said of working to get help a little closer to home for local veterans. ”Our veterans shouldn’t have to go to Palo Alto … we need French Camp built and it needs to be a world class medical facility.”
He also said more needs to be done to help veterans with schooling, readjustment, housing assistance and more.
“You answered the call to our country … our country needs to answer the call to you.”
The ceremony also featured performances by the Escalon High School choir and a combined EHS-El Portal Middle School band, remarks from Pastor Bill Barnett, the laying of wreaths, a 21-gun salute and the playing of Taps.
Pastor Barnett echoed some of Denham’s sentiments, urging support every day for veterans.
He noted that he had uncles who served in the military.
“Their scars ran deep but their purpose ran even deeper,” Barnett said.
After all the ceremonies were completed, a traditional barbecue chicken and rib lunch was available for purchase at the Community Center.