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Citrus Heights Messenger

Patriotism for a Great Day

Nov 16, 2023 10:27AM ● By Elise Spleiss

Boy Scouts in order with Citrus Heights City Manager Ash Feeney (right) on Veterans Day on November 11, 2023. Photo by Ryan Grant

CITRUS HEIGHTS, CA (MPG) - Once again, the staff and volunteers at the Citrus Heights Veterans Community Center on Sylvan outdid themselves putting on another upbeat and invigorating event, a Veterans Day concert on November 11.  

The theme for the days was patriotism, music and food and all three were carried out flawlessly.

The patriotism and music were performed by the 35 member Ben Ali Shrine Band, directed by Jerry Lopes. The National Anthem by Francis Scott Key got the day off to a good start followed by the Armed Forces Salute.

Patriotism was the main theme of the day at the Veteran’s Day Band Concert featuring the Ben Ali Shrine Band at the Citrus Heights Veterans Community Center. Photo by Ryan Grant

Master of Ceremonies Mark Glover introduced each piece with a little history. The hour of 13 patriotic band pieces went all too quickly as the audience enjoyed hot dogs and other appropriate band fare.

At 88 years young, band director Lopes says he has been in music almost all his life. Following graduation from college in 1957 he immediately began teaching music in public schools. He is still sharing his music with appreciative audiences.

He says doing this work “is community service to me. I’m giving back to the community, and I’ve done that all my life as a musician”.

Other pieces were “What A Wonderful World,” “Hogan’s Heroes March,” “Bohemian Rhapsody,” “Washington Post March,” by John P. Sousa and two renditions of “Taps.”  The two final pieces were “America the Beautiful” and “God Bless America” by Irving Berlin.

Following the concert Citrus Heights Boy Scouts performed a formal flag retirement/burning service for flags turned in to the center. One flag brought in by Don Weber to be retired ended up flying high above the Center.  The flag, in honor of Don’s deceased father, WWII retired pilot Lt. Colonel John Weber, United States Air Force, escaped the flames as it was deemed to still be in perfect condition.

Boy Scouts Troop 215 of Fair Oaks, Calif., officiate the folding of a the flag during the Veterans Day Band Concert at the Old Sylvan School on November 11, 2023. Photo by Ryan Grant

A flag was brought in to be retired by Don Weber but ended up flying high above the Center as it was deemed to still be in perfect condition. Photo by Ryan Grant

Weeks of preparation by Vice President Michelle Grant, and her crew, Administrative Assistant Laurie Thornton, Vince Robles Facility Manager, Howard Devore, advisor and other volunteers led to the success of the day.

President Jean Rounsavell would say all could feel the presence of Jim Rounsavell who passed away in 2021.

The Ben Ali Shrine Band is affiliated with the Ben Ali Shrine of Sacramento.

For information call (916) 920 4107