Under bright sunny skies and with temperatures feeling more like June than November, Veterans Day was observed in Escalon with a couple of different events on Monday, Nov. 11.
First, a parade stepped off at 10:30 a.m., featuring Grand Marshal George Tavares, a longtime member of the Escalon American Legion Gustafson-Thompson Post 263. Included in the parade were dancers, floats, classic cars, the San Joaquin County Sheriff’s Office mounted patrol unit and more.
Then, a ceremony at the city’s Community Center followed and included guest speaker Henry Raven, the laying of wreaths, music and a luncheon.
“Thank you for remembering the veterans on Veterans Day,” said Post Chaplain Casey Den Ouden in welcoming the crowd to the Community Center.
He said the Post lost four members from last Veterans Day to this, along with 21 veterans from the community at large.
He then introduced Pastor Henry Raven of Sierra Foothills Community Church in Oakdale, who served as guest speaker.
“I’m a bit of a history buff,” Raven admitted as he provided those in attendance with a brief history of the day, from its beginning as Armistice Day following the end of World War I to its current Veterans Day designed to honor all veterans.
With some military service himself, and several family members involved, Raven said he is aware of the sacrifices that veterans and their families make. He also pointed to the value of returning veterans and what they can add to the fabric of society.
“Veterans contribute greatly to the success of America,” Raven said. “Thank you veterans, wherever you might be, for your service.”
Wreaths were placed at two monuments on the Community Center grounds, a 21-gun salute was performed and Taps was played. Also contributing to the ceremony was the Escalon High School band, the EHS choir and the El Portal Middle School band.
Following the service, many headed inside the Community Center for a barbecue chicken/rib luncheon while the bands continued to play music outside. Organizers said there was a good turnout and they were pleased with the overall events of the day.