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Citrus Heights Messenger

Veterans Day Service Honors All Veterans

Nov 16, 2023 12:22PM ● By Elise Spleiss

Citrus Heights community members honoring our patriots for Veterans Day at Sylvan Cemetery included (from the left) Ann and Dennis Dobkowski, Sacramento County Supervisor Sue Frost (District 4), Citrus Heights Police Lt. Michael Wells, CHPD comfort dog Ellie; US Veteran Jack Frost, former Sacramento Taxpayers Association executive director; Charles Stone, Armed Forces with wife Shannan Conolly Stone (right); Carol Keller, First Vice Regent Daughters of the American Revolution. Photo by Elise Spleiss

CITRUS HEIGHTS, CA (MPG) - The sounds of the Harmony Express Men’s Chorus, including the Armed Forces Medley and Battle Hymn of the Republic greeted those arriving at Sylvan Cemetery for the traditional Veterans Day ceremony.

Master of Ceremonies and Commander of American Legion Post 637 Paul Reyes greeted attendees and introduced dignitaries including all members of the Citrus Heights City Council.

Former Citrus Heights Mayor Sue Frost, now a member of the Sacramento County Board of Supervisors, spoke of how she learned from her husband the difference between the general public and veterans who have experienced life in a war zone. They have a unique understanding of freedom and have made many sacrifices, including giving up their individuality, serving time away from family, and facing the possibility of death. She emphasizes we should be grateful for the freedoms that veterans have fought to protect.  Even we as citizens must do our part to be vigilant and protect the freedoms our veterans have fought for.

Frost concludes by thanking all veterans for their service and sharing the poem, “It is the Veteran,” by U.S. Air Force veteran Von Walker Loop.

Police Chief Alex Turcotte emphasized the bond shared between the police department and veterans, many of whom have become police officers and other first responders upon leaving the service. He emphasized how “the support for our veterans and police in Citrus Heights is overwhelming.”

Turcotte acknowledged that the phrase “thank you for your service” is not always met with a positive reaction by all veterans as it can evoke a lot of feelings and complex emotions for veterans including survivor’s guilt. All veterans, no matter where they served or what they did in peace or at war, helped to provide for the freedom of this country.

Citrus Heights community leaders and members gather on November 11, 2023, at the Sylvan Cemetery gazebo for the traditional Veterans Day ceremony which featured the music of Harmony Express Men’s Chorus. Photo by Elise Spleiss

He promised our veterans, “your law enforcement partners and police swear to uphold those freedoms daily, you mattered then, and you matter now and you matter to all of us.”

Citrus Heights Mayor Tim Schaefer talked of joining the Army at age 18 and serving as a military police officer. Expecting to just be driving around in a patrol car, he was instead assigned to a unit guarding nuclear anti-aircraft missiles able to kill millions of people in the wrong hands.  “It was a tough time and there was a lot of psychological challenges you face when you start thinking about the awesome power of these missiles.” The responsibility was stressful but necessary. Schaefer described how he and his team took their job very seriously and how they bonded over the shared experience and stress working in that unit. He also described the pressure of being trained to be a sniper and the danger of being a decoy in a real-life situation. As with the other speakers, Schaefer said he is grateful for the opportunity to have served with other veterans and he thanks them for their service.

Congressman Ami Bera made time in his busy day to acknowledge the burden placed on the United States especially when there is a conflict anywhere in the world. All eyes are on America to serve and protect freedom and democracy around the world. “It is a burden but also our obligation and our honor to be wherever needed and to support our troops wherever they are and upon their return.”

A high point of the day was meeting golden doodle Ellie and her handler Lt. Wells. Ellie is the Citrus Heights Police Department comfort dog who makes the rounds visiting staff throughout the day.