On Wednesday, November 11, 2020 the Wrightwood Veterans Memorial hosted a Veterans Day ceremony attended by approximately 100 people. The ceremony began at 11am by ringing the Armistice Bell 11 times as a way of remembering Armistice Day, which in 1954 was changed to Veterans Day, to remember the cessation of hostilities between Germany and the allied nations during a conflict known as “the war to end all wars.”
The colors were presented by Boy Scout Troop 351, and the national anthem was sung by Claudia Campbell. Pastor Dave Conrad led the gathered in the invocation and benediction. The honor of the “Laying the Wreath was given to outgoing San Bernardino County Supervisor Robert Lovingood, who is due to retire this year.
Retired Air Force and Navy veteran Cpt. Tom Pinard is the coordinator of the Veterans Day ceremony. He believes that Veterans Day needs to be remembered because those that have served have mostly done so voluntarily. “Now, we don’t have a draft. We have a volunteer force,” he says. “It’s important for those of us that served, and those of us in the community that understand” to reinforce to those that have no connection to the military the sacrifices made by our nation’s all-volunteer force.
Dennis Felgar has been a Wrightwood resident since 1957 and says he has attended every ceremony hosted at the Wrightwood Veterans Memorial since the Memorial was established. “It is something we felt we needed in this community. A place that would be here in perpetuity so we could have a place to memorialize our troops and our people in the military.” He says that he has seen tourists who visit Wrightwood come to the memorial “and thank the men and women that did what they did for us to make our freedom.” For Felgar, the memorial “has made the community strong and brings us all together.”
The ringing of the Armistice Day Bell at the Wrightwood Veterans Memorial on Veterans Day stems from a committee member watching an episode of Downton Abbey in which there was a memorial to honor the war dead from World War I by ringing a bell 11 times.