Over 300 were in attendance at the 4th Annual Veterans Appreciation Day on Sunday, November 7, 2010 at Faith Baptist Church. Pastor John Goetsch Jr. officiated the service around the theme of “God and Country”, recognizing the veterans’ sacrificial service in preserving our freedom. The words of Ronald Reagan were recalled, “Freedom is never more than one generation from extinction. We didn’t pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same, or one day we will spend our sunset years telling our children and our children’s children what it was like in the United States where men were free.”
In attendance were several veteran groups, including the Veterans of Foreign Wars, Martinez Brothers, American Legion Post 56, Vietnam Veterans Chapter 835, and Submarine Veterans. The six service branches were honored, Army, Navy, Marines, Air Force, Coast Guard, and Merchant Marines.
There were 110 military challenge coins given to both veterans and active service members. Two families were publicly honored for the ultimate sacrifice of ones killed in action. Mr. Charles Patterson lost his son, US Army Pvt Anthony T. Patterson on March 14, 1991 in the Gulf War and Mr. and Mrs. Rick Sandoval lost their son, US Army Sgt Frank M. Sandoval on June 18, 2007 from injuries suffered in Iraq. Roses were gifted to every wife in attendance of an active duty service member or veteran. Two wives of active duty deployed service members were publicly honored, only representative of many present. Both Mrs. Daniele Elsworth and Mrs. Nathalie Dor’s husbands are deployed to Afghanistan. Mr. Walt Schumacher was honored for a lifetime achievement for his service, first in Vietnam and then most recently until his retirement, civil service at the U.S. Army Yuma Proving Grounds.
Pastor Goetsch gave a message from the Bible, John 8:32, “…and the truth shall make you free.” Highlights taken from the message were “Just as no one is born patriotic, no one is born a Christian. Jesus Christ paid the price for our sin and gave us everlasting life.”
The finale of the Veterans Day service was the flag ceremony which entailed the Honor Guard presentation and raising of U. S. flag at the outside flagpole facing the street on 1798 Arizona Avenue, just south of 16th Street. With all the veterans, active service members, and general public in attendance, the Faith Baptist Church Quartet sang the national anthem with everyone saluting (or hand on heart) as the flag was raised. Then, there was a 21-gun salute to terminate this ceremony.