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Many opportunities to honor veterans around town


November 07, 2013
Veterans Day is next Monday, and there are several events for you to show your gratitude and respect for our veterans in the coming week. No matter what branch of the military our veterans served in or when they served, it is crucial that we remember their sacrifice and honor their devotion.

St. Stephens Catholic Church will be holding a Veteran's Recognition Dinner on Sunday Nov. 10 at 6 p.m. at their

parish hall. Featuring a complete meal of salad, vegetables, chicken fettuccine, and dessert, the dinner is a great

opportunity to celebrate all those who have served our country. Veterans are encouraged to wear their uniforms and bring medals or anything else they would like to share.

"We call them all up and give them a pat on the back," said Gloria Salinas, wife of deacon Gil Salinas and one of the

organizers of the dinner.

All the veterans will also be presented with a small military gift, says Salinas, including a special award for Joe Abate, a 98 year-old WWII veteran. There will also be patriotic music and military themed video clips.

This is the 4th year St. Stephens has hosted the dinner. There is a suggested donation of $15 for adults, $5 for children ten and under, and $40 for families. Veterans and active military are welcome at no cost. To reserve space,

please call 760-749-2820.

"Everybody's welcome," said Salinas.

On the morning of Veterans Day, the Valley Center Cemetery will be host to a ceremony honoring our veterans. The program starts at 11 a.m., but Donna Weldon, bookkeeper for the Cemetery District, recommends that people

arrive at 10:30 a.m. to get in place.

"We have a ceremony every year that lasts about an hour," said Weldon. "It's a nice ceremony, we've been doing this forever."

Boy Scout Troop 619 will be raising and lowering the flag at the start and conclusion of the ceremony. Jan Erler will give this year's patriotic vocal performance, and Brent Allen will be playing taps. A wreath will be laid upon the cemetery's monument to the Unknown Soldier as well, according to Weldon. Veteran John Herr will be the guest speaker, and Gunnar Hanson, pastor at the Valley Baptist church, will be giving the devotional. There will be refreshments immediately following the ceremony.

In the early afternoon, the Valley Center/Pauma Music Boosters will present a patriotic musical tribute to our veterans at the Maxine Theater. The concert, which starts at 1 p.m. and will run for about an hour and a half, will feature performances by the jazz bands and choirs from the Middle School and High School, as well as the VCHS Marching Band.

"It's a fast moving program," said Diane Conaway, president of the Music Boosters. Troop 619 will continue their patriotic duties by presenting the colors to kick things off, and then the various bands will alternate playing a range

of patriotic tunes.

"The most popular song that we do is usually the grand finale," said Conaway. A medley of all the theme songs for

the different branches of the armed forces will conclude the concert. Servicemen and women are encouraged to stand when they hear their theme.

"It's guaranteed

to give you goosebumps," said Conaway.

The concert itself is free, but the music boosters will be selling refreshments in the lobby before and after the concert, with proceeds going toward the transportation costs of the High School Marching Band's upcoming trip to

Disneyland. The Len and Greg Beck Jazz Duo well also be playing in the lobby prior to the show.

Finally, the Women's Club House at Skyline Ranch will be host to a Veterans Day lunch and speaker on Nov. 13. The

event will start at 10 a.m.

For more details, or to RSVP, contact Connie Zucker at 760-390-7090.

As Americans, we owe more to our servicemen and women than we may ever be able to express. Whether you attend one of these events or find some other way to volunteer your thanks, show our veterans you appreciate their enormous dedication this Veterans Day.

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