Ramona salutes fallen veterans

By Maureen Robertson

Each of the 585 U.S. flags on gravesites at Nuevo Memory Gardens represents the final resting place of a veteran, Doug Scholl said during Memorial Day ceremonies at the cemetery Monday.

Speakers and guests stand at attention during the ceremony. Sentinel photos/Maureen Robertson

“All of them have a story,” said Scholl, commander of Ramona Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 3783, encouraging veterans to tell those stories. “Please, whether you’re from World War II, Korea, Vietnam, Desert Storm or currently serving today, write down, jot down some of your experiences so some day we can carry that legacy forward proudly, as it should be.”

District 71 Assemblyman Brian Jones told of a man in Prescott, Ariz., who enlisted in the U.S. Army Air Corps in November 1941. It was not until the end of the detailed account of the man’s experiences, including two years in a Japanese prison camp, that the crowd learned the man was Paul Dane Jones, the assemblyman’s grandfather, who weighed 98 pounds at the end of the war. The elder Jones received a Purple Heart, Air Medal, Good Conduct Medal, American Defense Ribbon and German Occupation Medal.

“Unfortunately, many of my grandfather’s friends” and millions of other Americans throughout the country’s history never made it home, said Jones, whose voice at times broke with emotion. “… And this is why Memorial Day is important to me.”

As is tradition toward the end of the ceremony, each veteran gave his or her name, branch of service, years in service and other

Jocquin Ojeda, 4, nephew U.S. Army Sp4 Ramon Ojeda, killed in Am-a-rah, Iraq, May 1, 2004, looks at the flowers his grandmother, Gold Star Mother Maria Ojeda, received. Sentinel photo/Maureen Robertson

information. Les Merrill, U.S. Navy, submarines, served from 1965-71, and shrugged when asked why he did not add his name to the 43 men and one woman who spoke.

“He’s very modest,” said friend Susan Biggs, adding that Merrill is a retired police detective.

District 71 Assemblyman Brian Jones tells the story of one World War II Army Air Corpsman during an emotional Memorial Day speech. Sentinel photo/Maureen Robertson

The ceremony also included the presentation of flowers to Ramona Gold Star mothers. U.S. Navy Lt. Cmdr. Mark Dumas presented bouquets to Ruth Warnock, grandmother of U.S. Army Cpl. Jeremiah Santos, who was killed in action in Baghdad, Iraq, on June 15, 2006, and to Maria Ojeda, mother of U.S. Army Sp4 Ramon Ojeda, killed in action in Am-a-rah, Iraq, on May 1, 2004.

For the first time, Ramona High School Navy Junior Reserve Officers Training Corps presented an award in memory of Ojeda, who was an NJROTC cadet. Cadet of the Year Carlo Silva, the unit’s first recipient, presented a duplicate medallion to Maria Ojeda. It is purple to represent the Purple Heart awarded to her son after his death, said Scholl.

U.S. Navy Lt. Cmdr. Mark Dumas presents Gold Star Mother Ruth Barnett with flowers. Seated is Ralph Barnett. The Barnetts are the grandparents of U.S. Army Cpl. Jeremiah Santos, who was killed in Baghdad, Iraq, June 15, 2006. Sentinel photo/Maureen Robertson

Carlo Silva, Ramona NJROTC Cadet of the Year, walks away after presenting Gold Star Mother Maria Ojeda with a medallion for the Ojeda family. Sentinel photo/Maureen Robertson

Vietnam War veteran Les Merrill served in the U.S. Navy, submarines, from 1965-71. Sentinel photo/Maureen Robertson

Buglar U.S. Navy Electronics Technician Chief Harold Krohne plays “Taps.” Sentinel photo/Maureen Robertson

Veteran Chuck Apgar stands to state his name and World War II service information. Sentinel photo/Maureen Robertson

Ken Dower, World War II and Korean War veteran, is one of Korea War’s Chosen Few. Sentinel photo/Maureen Robertson

A crowd of several hundred people observe the Memorial Day ceremonies at Nuevo Memory Gardens cemetery. Sentinel photo/Maureen Robertson

World War II veterans Pat Kallen, physical therapist with the U.S. Army Medical Corps, and John Leap, U.S. Navy combat air crewman, are among the estimated 45 veterans at the ceremony. Sentinel photo/Maureen Robertson

Veteran Dick Lemire talks with grandsons Wesley and Carter Larzalere after the ceremonies. Sentinel photo/Maureen Robertson

A wreath stands ready to be placed at the gravesite of the Unknown soldier. Sentinel photo/Maureen Robertson

Related posts:

  1. Cadets’ Salute to Veterans at Ramona High brings tears to many
  2. Scout dedicates illuminated flagpole to grandfather and other veterans
  3. Ramona VFW invites community to Memorial Day events
  4. Vintage helicopter finds home at Classic Rotors Rare & Vintage Rotorcraft Museum in Ramona
  5. Community pays tribute at VFW Memorial Day Ceremony

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Posted by Maureen Robertson on May 29 2014. Filed under Archive, Featured Story, News, Ramona. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

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