CARLSBAD — The 100th anniversary of Armistice Day, a parade and a pair of flyovers highlighted the Army and Navy Academy’s yearly Veterans Day remembrance on Nov. 10.
In addition, the academy also honored Charles Pedrotta, a former first lieutenant B-24 pilot in the U.S. Army Air Force who fought in World War II. Pedrotta, who will turn 100 in April 2019, was showcased for his service, which included 15 missions over Germany before being shot down in December 1944 and being held as a POW until 1945.
The academy is a private all-boys college preparatory boarding school not associated with any military branch.
“There are a lot of veterans that work here … and it’s part of the values and ethos we try to impart on our young men,” Maj. Gen. Arthur Bartell said of the day’s meaning. “What we’ve tried to do over the years is make this a community event. And it has become a community event.”
Typically, the academy remembrance is on the 11th hour of 11th day of the 11th month, or at 11 a.m., Nov. 11, which acknowledges Armistice Day, the official end to World War I. However, this was the first time ever for the Army and Navy Academy to hold the event on a Saturday.
Bartell said it was a decision to maximize attendance, since Nov. 11 may have been more of a challenge to engage residents, veterans and those visiting from out of town for the holiday weekend. Regardless, it was the best-attended event in the academy’s 10-year history, he added.
The event, though, would not be as well attended and growing without the assistance of the Carlsbad Rotary clubs, Bartell said. In addition, he touted the support of the City Council and Mayor Matt Hall, who served in the U.S. Army during the Vietnam War and was awarded a Purple Heart.
“Our goal is to make this the biggest (Veterans Day) event in North County San Diego,” Bartell said. “The stadium was almost at capacity. We had a large number of people and a ton of veterans.”
As for the Army and Navy cadets, the students marched in formation, recognized at least 100 attendees who served in some capacity with the U.S. military and performing “Taps,” the military call honoring those who died in service, a tradition usually reserved for Memorial Day.
Still, Bartell said it’s just another way for the academy, veterans and civilians alike to honor those who passed defending the nation.
The day is also one of the biggest for the academy, he explained. Preparations begin one year in advance and include the timing of flyovers, which this year had two including the Missing Man formation, which is another honor to those who have died in battle.
For the cadets, though, Bartell said this event is another way for the academy to drill home characteristics such as dignity, respect and selfless service.
“The other special piece is the passing review,” Bartell added. “For this event, we invite all veterans to come up and line the field. When the corps makes the turn to come down the sideline, they go to eyes right for the first veteran and hold that through the entire sideline.”