ANAHIEM, Calif. --
On a brisk morning with clear skies, veterans and current service members were greeted with “Thank you for your service” and “Semper Fi” during a ceremony commemorating their sacrifices.
Marines with the 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit color guard kicked off the Veterans Day ceremony attended by other military veterans and city officials at city hall in Anaheim, Calif., Nov. 9.
Lieutenant Col. John R. O’Neal, commanding officer, 15th MEU, was the keynote speaker during the ceremony.
“Today, Veterans Days stands as an opportunity for the United States both as a nation and its citizens to pause and honor all veterans. Not just those that have fought for us in battle but in fact all of our outstanding men and women who have served in our nations armed forces and have done so since our founding more than 237 years ago,” O’Neal said.
The more than 100 veterans in attendance were asked to rise in recognition of their service during the ceremony and were grateful to receive the support of the community.
“Seeing the city come together like this to honor us, shows how far we’ve come,” said Lou Jordan, quartermaster, Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 3173. “There was a time when veterans were coming home, after serving in hell, to communities that disrespected everything they had sacrificed for. It’s important for people to continue this type of support for their veterans.”
During the ceremony, Tom Tait, mayor of Anaheim, addressed the crowd and reflected on how important veterans are and how Anaheim continues to show its support by finding new ways to help service members transition into a successful civilian life.
“I am particularly honored to thank all veterans for being here today,” Tait said. “Sometimes transitioning to civilian life can be tough. That is why, during my time as mayor, improving life for veterans and active military personnel living in our city has been a priority.”
The observance also celebrated the Marine Corps’ 238th birthday, which occured on Nov. 10, with a cake-cutting ceremony.
“Seeing that cake being cut took me back to when I was still serving in the Corps,” said Lorenzo Martinez, a veteran of the Vietnam War and citizen of Anaheim. “Having these Marines come out and representing the Marine Corps like this means so much to us.”
Martinez said he saw a cub scout, after posing for a picture with the Marines in their uniform, run back to his mom with the biggest smile on his face and said, “Mommy can I be a Marine?”
“That proves just how much you Marines mean to this community,” Martinez said.