Community unites in special Claremont Vet Day ceremony
The Claremont community converged at Memorial Park to celebrate their men and women in uniform during the city’s annual Veteran’s Day celebration on Wednesday.
City officials, including Mayor Corey Calaycay, were on hand to pay tribute to those who served, and in some cases, gave the ultimate sacrifice to their country. The El Roble and Claremont High School marching band played all the patriotic hits, and Boy Scouts from local troop 408 unfurled the American flag and hoisted it atop the Memorial Park flagpole.
Local veterans were present for the festivities, and were honored for their service. One was Claremont Police officer Jennifer Ganino, who served during Operation Iraqi Freedom in the Civil Affairs Battalion, rebuilding markets, schools and hospitals across the war-torn nation.
Ms. Ganino was thrilled with the patriotic festivities at Memorial Park.
“It means the world to me to see everybody come out here and support us,” Ms. Ganino said. “It’s such a special day, and you think sometimes people forget, but this is just a reminder that people remember our service and appreciate it.”
Jim Stripling, a World War II veteran who served in the pacific theater, was also appreciative of recognition during the event.
“We left a lot of people out there, and recognizing us is in fact recognizing all the dead ones out there,” Mr. Stripling said. “It brings tears to my eyes because I had a lot of friends that didn’t come back. You’re honoring those people, not necessarily me, those that died for you, damn it.”
An emotional Mr. Calaycay also shared a personal story involving his father, originally from the Philippines, who was saved by American soldiers during World War II and the Japanese invasion.
“I can’t help but reflect on the fact that if things had been different, if the Americans had not gone in there and freed the Filipinos, [my father] might not be alive today,” Mr. Calaycay said. “Who I am and what I’m able to do today is because of your service.”