From the Main Street flyover by three planes of the Commemorative Air Force to the 21-gun salute at the city’s Community Center, Escalon observed Veterans’ Day on Tuesday, Nov. 11.
The day started with a parade downtown, stepping off to the sounds of the Historical Society’s air raid siren, and traveled the traditional route from Coley to First to Main. At the Main Street Park, the American Legion colorguard presented the colors and the flag at the caboose was lowered to half-mast, with Taps played. The parade then continued on and featured entries ranging from newly re-elected Assemblywoman Kristin Olson to vehicles carrying Escalon’s seven World War II veterans. Those veterans – Jay Davis, Paul Dismukes, Leonard Pereira, Robert Girling, Ralph Verschoor, Ted Cadlolo and Frank Crandal – received special recognition this year at the ceremony and also were guests of honor at the chicken barbecue Tuesday afternoon at the Community Center following the parade and services.
Legion member Darrell Voortman served as emcee of the parade and the 30-minute long procession also featured both the El Portal and Escalon High School marching bands, the young Outlaws football cheerleaders, 4-H and equestrian groups, local dignitaries and more.
Serving as keynote speaker at the Veterans’ Day services at the memorial wall was Father Jeff Wilson of St. Patrick’s Catholic Church who noted that America has 48 million veterans and all deserve our thanks and prayers.
“This day, the country, she remembers her veterans,” Wilson said. “We celebrate and honor all American veterans for their patriotism … for their willingness to serve and sacrifice for the common good.”
The laying of two wreaths, one at the wall and one at the memorial listing the names of local servicemen lost in war, was followed by a 21-gun salute and the playing of Taps for those assembled at the community center.
Earlier, students and staff at Escalon High School gathered for a special assembly on Friday to recognize area veterans and thank them for their service, with veteran Joshua Whitfield from Waterford serving as keynote speaker.