News Old - DO NOT USE - The Coast News Rancho Santa Fe

Veterans Day draws record crowds

SAN MARCOS — More than 100 people came to the unfinished Veterans Memorial at Helen Bougher Memorial Park in San Marcos for what was, by far, the largest observation of the holiday in the city Nov. 11.
Representatives of all of America’s wars attended including a dozen World War II veterans.
“That means I’m young!” Veteran of Foreign Wars Post 3795 Commander Virgil Griffin joked. He, like many attendees, served in the Vietnam War.
The event started on a strident note as Chaplain Steve Pantoja of Post 3795 read an angry prayer asking for God’s assistance to crush and destroy America’s enemies so that her soldiers could return home.
Invited guest and former civilian war correspondent Lyle Davis struck a more philosophical tone.
“We’re all gathered here today among family and friends because someone died for us,” he said. “We ought to be remembering them on more than just one day out of the year.”
“Freedom is never more than one generation from extinction,” Councilman Mike Preston said, quoting former President Ronald Reagan. “An important component of this Memorial and Veterans Day is to let our children and their children and future generations know that freedom is not free. There’s a price to pay and our Veterans pay that.”
After the event, several attendees purchased tiles for the Memorial’s Wall of Honor to commemorate veterans living and dead. Phase one of the Memorial, including the wall, will be complete by Dec. 2.