SOLANA BEACH — Remembering “the true heroes of our nation and our community” on a “truly American holiday,” Mayor Mike Nichols dedicated the Memorial Day ceremony at La Colonia Community Park to “those who gave their lives to protect our country, our freedoms and our American way of life.”“These brave men and women gave everything so we can live in liberty,” Nichols said at the May 27 event. “We shall be reminded every day by their sacrifice and know that freedom is not free. It is a gift selflessly purchased by others at great cost.”The annual event, co-hosted by the city and the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 5431, was attended by VFW members representing all branches of the military, two former Solana Beach mayors, the Camp Pendleton Young Marines, Solana Beach firefighters, area residents and guest speaker David Jacinto.
Jacinto shared stories of his father and stepfather, who served in World War II, and Gen. James Doolittle, a fighter pilot who led an attack on Japan that became known as The Doolittle Raid.
During the top-secret mission, 16 B-25 bombers took off from the USS Hornet and bombed Japanese targets. Although the damage was minimal, the raid proved Japan was vulnerable.
“As I look out at each of you and see those who served and those who support you, I know there are many other stories of our unsung heroes who have given so much to make this a better place for me and my family,” Jacinto told the crowd of more than 200 people.
“We owe a debt of gratitude to the hundreds of thousands who made the supreme sacrifice in battle,”’ he said. “May we use this precious gift wisely. To the soldiers and their families left behind, I offer you a humble thank you.”
The ceremony ended with the Santa Fe Christian High School band performing a medley of military anthems, Issac Trotta playing “Taps” and the release of white doves “to commemorate the souls and spirit of deceased service members,” Randy Treadway, VFW Post 5431 commander, said.