The Wrightwood Veterans Memorial held its annual Veterans Day Ceremony on Saturday morning, November 11th.
The ceremony began with the ringing of the Armistice Peace Bell, which was rung eleven times by veterans Ron Jaqua and David Delacruz and signified the “armistice” that ended World War I. The singing of the national anthem was performed by Wrightwood’s own Claudia Campbell. At the same time, the color guard from the 11th Regiment in Fort Irwin presented the colors, followed by the pledge of allegiance.
President Alan Miller of the Wrightwood Veterans Memorial welcomed everyone to the ceremony after an invocation was read by recently retired Pastor Dave of the Wrightwood United Methodist Church. President Miller then invited all veterans and those currently serving in the military to stand when they heard the song for the branch they served in while the “Armed Forces Medley” played over the PA system.
Captain Tom Pinard had the honor of reading this year’s names for the commemorative bricks that were laid and added to the Wrightwood Veterans Memorial. Pinard also paid special tribute to the commemorative brick of the recently deceased Wrightwood community member and volunteer Ron Parody. Ron was one of the original founding members of the Wrightwood Village Trail, and Pinard praised him and his wife Sue for taking that project on for the good of the community, saying, “And that’s the type of service and volunteering that came from his time in the service. If you’re in the service, you’re there serving your country. You’re not there for the glam, you’re not there for the money […], and most of the guys that come out of the service, fortunately, take that back with them to the community. The need to and the desire to serve their community, and that’s an important thing.” His commemorative brick reads: Ronald W. Parody Captain Armor US Army Parachutist 1957-1968
A special tribute was also announced for Harlan Lassiter, who passed away four months ago and is the only non-veteran honored with a commemorative brick for his dedication to the Wrightwood Veterans Memorial and commitment to volunteering with the group. “When he heard about the small group of veterans and friends of the military who had the idea to build this memorial, he volunteered! He just stepped forward and volunteered, and he was one of our strongest volunteers,” said Captain Pinard. A commemorative plaque was also presented to Harlan Lassiter’s companion through life, Kay Lavish, who tirelessly fundraised and volunteered alongside Harlan and the Wrightwood Community in order to make sure that the Veterans Memorial was successfully built. Harlan’s commemorative brick reads Harlan Lassiter In Memory of a Wrightwood citizen, a dedicated supporter of this memorial, a loyal friend, and a true patriot. Dedicated on Veterans Day 2023.
After the brick dedications, veteran Pat Bailey and members of the local Girl Scout Troop laid a beautiful commemorative floral wreath at the memorial statue, and Pastor Dave Conrad gave a benediction to conclude the ceremony.