City honors service members past and present

City honors service members past and present
Participating in the ceremony are the Camp Pendleton Young Marines. Photo by Bianca Kaplanek

SOLANA BEACH — With butterflies intermittently fluttering among the audience, City Councilwoman Lesa Heebner noted that Memorial Day is not only solemn, but beautiful as well.

“Any day we recognize honor and patriotism is a beautiful day,” she said at the May 26 Memorial Day program, held annually at La Colonia Park to “remember the heroes of our nation and our community … who have paid the ultimate cost for our freedom.”

“We also honor their families who every day feel the loss of their loved ones who sacrificed to protect our freedom, the ideals we cherish, our American way of life,” she added.

Deep appreciation goes out to all who have died while serving in the Unites States Armed Forces and their families,” Heebner said. “We are indebted to them forever, and we will not forget.

“Our hearts also go out to those who are still in harm’s way,” she added.

Guest speaker Dave Roberts, 3rd District county supervisor and former Solana Beach councilman, echoed her thoughts.

Retired veterans Steve Ellwood, left, and Roger Boyd stand as the official song of the Army is played.  Air Force veteran Rudy Saenz stood a bit later when “The Air Force Song” was played. Photo by Bianca Kaplanek

Retired veterans Steve Ellwood, left, and Roger Boyd stand as the official song of the Army is played. Air Force veteran Rudy Saenz stood a bit later when “The Air Force Song” was played. Photo by Bianca Kaplanek

He said Memorial Day is “a time of observation to honor and respect those who fought to protect the liberties that our Founding Fathers proclaimed with certainty in the Declaration of Independence and that are thoughtfully and carefully framed in the Constitution of the United States.”

“Our land has been truly blessed and honored with veterans who have given their lives to ensure that we have the freedom to enjoy the blessings given to us by God and assured in liberty by the vision of our Founding Fathers,” Roberts said.

“The men and women who serve and who have served … are no less committed to protecting our nation than were the men who signed the Declaration of Independence,” he added.

“We owe our thanks and our honor to those who died securing peace and freedom, to those who served in conflict to protect our land and sacrificed their dreams of the day to preserve the hope of our nation, keeping America the land of the free for over two centuries,” he said.

“It is important to not only recognize their service but to respect their devotion to duty and to ensure that the purpose for which they fought will never ever be forgotten,” he added.

From the soldiers who fought bravely during the American Revolution to the men and women of today’s Armed Forces, America’s fighting forces have always responded bravely to this nation’s call to duty, Roberts said.

“I would not be able to serve as your county supervisor today were in not for the valiant men and women who have accepted the call to serve through the years,” he said.

Roberts concluded his speech by pledging to match the recent $80,000 contribution from city council to the Solana Beach Veterans Honor Courtyard. The county grant will bring the fundraising efforts to within less than $20,000 of the $200,000 needed to begin the project.

Personalized 12-inch square tiles that will be installed in the courtyard to honor service members are still available for $300 each.

Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 5431 Commander Randy Treadway prepares to release a lone white dove. Photo by Bianca Kaplanek

Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 5431 Commander Randy Treadway prepares to release a lone white dove. Photo by Bianca Kaplanek

Roberts said he wanted to make the courtyard his 2014 signature project so all veterans will know their service will live on in perpetuity in the city.

“We do this for you, our honored veterans and their families,” he said, adding that the area will “give people a chance to go and reflect on the true cost of what these conflicts have on our nation and communities like Solana Beach.”

“I’m in awe,” said former Mayor Tere Renteria, a driving force behind the courtyard. “For some families, every day is Memorial Day. That’s one thing we must never forget.”

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