SOLANA BEACH — With the humility so often displayed by U.S. veterans, John Fletcher accepted a proclamation for his service to this country, but said, “There are a lot of men who deserve this more.”
Fletcher, who joined the Army in 1944, was honored by state Sen. Mark Wyland during the annual Solana Beach Memorial Day ceremony May 28 at La Colonia Park.
Wyland said men and women who join the military “express a degree of patriotism and a willingness to serve their country that we need more of.”
He said when new troops are headed to boot camp, one airline he often flies announces when service members are onboard.
“The plane always erupts in sustained applause,” Wyland said. “It’s a wonderful thing. We owe them an awful lot.
“One thing we need to do a better job at is making sure younger people know our history, and they don’t right now,” he said. “They don’t know all these stories. … They don’t appreciate and honor enough the sacrifices (our service members) have made, but we can change that.”
Wyland said his hopes someday more young people will attend events like the one in Solana Beach to understand how “unique and special this country is and how important … it is to serve it.”
“We should never, and can never, forget that,” he said.
“Each year we come together to remember the true heroes in our community,” Mayor Joe Kellejian said, adding that he was honored to recognize their contributions and sacrifices.
“Each day they are fighting for our freedom,” he said. “As a veteran, this is indeed a special day for me.
“To all our fallen soldiers, sailors and airmen, we are indebted to you forever,” Kellejian said.
The event, co-hosted by the city and the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 5431, also included a reading of the poem “In Flanders Fields,” music by the Santa Fe Christian band and a presentation of colors by the Camp Pendleton Young Marines.
The ceremony concluded with a release of doves to symbolize the lifting of the spirit and souls of deceased service members, said Randy Treadway, incoming post commander of VFW Post 5431.