Members of Colusa VFW Post No. 2441 and Maxwell American Legion Post No. 218 on Monday read all 930 names engraved on the Veterans Memorial Wall.
The names are of a mix of men and woman who have served or are serving in the armed forces. Many, including all who served in World War I, and most who served in World War II have long since died.
All were remembered at Monday’s well-attended ceremony in Memorial Park on Veterans Day, a federal holiday to recognize those who served in the nation’s military – both living and dead – who protect the freedoms Americans hold dear.
Some of the young Colusa County men remembered never returned from battle, including Floyd E. Addy, in World War I; Clarence Thomas Harris, in World War II; James Willard Bass, in Korea; Frank Allen Baggett, in Vietnam, and Rueben J. Lopez, in Afghanistan.
“We never say we are sending our soldiers, sailors, marines, airmen or service people off to war,” said retired Lt. Col Buster Diggs, Monday’s keynote speaker. “We always say there go our boys. Why do we say that? We say that because that is what most of them are; they’re boys. Most of them can probably vote; some can even buy a beer – but they are just boys.”
In addition to community members and representatives of the local fire departments, a large number of local veterans attended Monday’s ceremony, including World War II veterans, Vern Sanders, 99, the oldest member of the Colusa VFW, and Robert Dutil, 94, along with Korean War veteran Robert Alvarnaz, 88.
Colusa Mayor Greg Ponciano reminded those in attendance that saying “thank you” to all who serve in the military is important, since few know what it takes to do what they do.
“I’m very, very humbled to be in the company of the men and women who served our country and all of us,” Ponciano said.
“We are, indeed, grateful for their service and sacrifice,” said VFW Chaplain George Sandridge, who, during his invocation, recognized also the people working on the home front, so that the victories of U.S. military are sustained.
Lexie Avera sang the National Anthem for Monday’s ceremony.
Colusa VFW Post No. 2441 Commander Mike Jones, a Vietnam veteran, officiated.
Member Dennis Sanders, who also served in Vietnam, said 42 new names were added this year to the Veterans Memorial, and the sculptured panels depicting the Iraq and Afghanistan wars have been added to two of the walls.
The group continues to accept donations and hold fundraisers to add additional sculptures to the memorial. ■