Veterans Day Service Honors the Fallen

Citrus Heights, CA (MPG)  |  By Elise Spleiss, photos by Jack Mintz
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The traditional procession through the cemetery prior to the ceremony was led by the Citrus Heights Police (CHPD) motorcycle team, followed by CHPD Honor Guard, American Legion Post 637, Boy Scout Troop 228, members of the police department, Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War Rifle Team and members of the community.

The Sylvan Cemetery in Citrus Heights held its traditional Veterans Day service on November 11th. The morning’s events began at 10:30 a.m. with a procession led by the Citrus Heights Police Department (CHPD) Motorcycle Team and Honor Guard, followed by members of the American Legion Post 637, Boy Scout Troop 228, and members of the police department, the Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War (SUVCW) rifle team, and members of the community.

The parade wound through the cemetery starting at the south end where those who died in the Spanish-American and Civil War were interred, and making four more stops along the Avenue of Flags. American Legion Chaplain Jerry Smith paused briefly at each of the five areas in the cemetery, honoring those buried there from the different wars and conflicts, ending with World War II at the Veterans Memorial in the center of the cemetery. He related a brief history of the issues of that war, with a count of all who had perished as a result of it.

The memorial continued at the gazebo area. Sacramento County Supervisor Roberta MacGlashan thanked the American Legion, Sylvan Cemetery, and City of Citrus Heights for sponsoring the event. She also thanked the Folsom Harmony Express choir for adding to the memorial with their patriotic songs including the military branch medley and “The Battle Hymn of the Republic.”

MacGlashan said Sacramento County is always anxious to help its veterans. The Veterans Services Office was established in 1946 to determine and obtain benefits for veterans by working with the county, Veterans Administration, and with state and local government to direct them to the correct places to obtain benefits. A new program to work with homeless veterans, Sac Steps Forward has been established. The first goal to be met by the end of 2015—to find housing for the 668 homeless vets—has almost been met.

Chief Christopher Boyd spoke of his pride in the veterans on the force. CHPD officers who are military veterans wear a special pin presented to them when hired.

Mayor Sue Frost spoke on behalf of the city council, congratulating our local vets for their courage, creativity, gifts of service to our community, and to the police and to all other organizations that support them.

American Legion Commander Paul Reyes quoted poet Maya Angelo, “How important it is for us to recognize our heroes and our ‘she-roes,’ including all the women who have fought and worked to service and protect their country.” He noted that “we give thanks to the 24 million Americans who strengthen our nation. Our veterans are drawn from many generations and many backgrounds no matter where they fought, and have contributed to the character and greatness of America. And we honor a new generation of men and women who are defending our freedom. Since Sept. 11th, 2001, they have fought on many fronts. More than 1.4 million are on active duty around the world. From Valley Forge to Vietnam, from Kuwait to Kandahar, from Berlin to Baghdad, our vets have borne the cost of America’s wars.”

Finally, Master of Ceremony Jim Monteton emphasized that since 1775—239 years ago—with the signing of the Declaration of War (Independence) and from Valley Forge until today, our young men and women have maintained the same optimism and belief that they are doing something worthwhile that George Washington’s ragtag army showed to win their battle.

Following the ceremony, the Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War gave the rifle salute. They are all descendants of someone who fought in the Civil War.

The traditional procession through the cemetery prior to the ceremony was led by the Citrus Heights Police (CHPD) motorcycle team, followed by CHPD Honor Guard, American Legion Post 637, Boy Scout Troop 228, members of the police department, Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War Rifle Team and members of the community.Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War Rifle Team conclude the day with a traditional black-powder rifle salute honoring all veterans.