It’s Veteran’s Day in Oxnard

Pomp, pagentry as leading Citizens, public honor area Veterans

By George Miller

This year, Veteran’s Day was observed differently in Oxnard. The City added  a flag raising and speeches at city hall, then everyone marched (described as an “honor walk”) down to the Plaza Park ceremonies, to the accompanyment of High School bands, a veteran’s American Legion Riders motorcycle group and several local organizations. For a bustling city of 200,000 people, it wasn’t a lot, but it was the first of what might be many and bigger ones in the future. What was impressive was how it was all done and by whom.  The motto was: “Honor * Courage * Loyalty.”  There were holiday events all over the county and the Oxnard event was just one of them- and a fine one. Not everyone had the day off, so we hope this report will give them and others not there an idea of what transpired.

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Officials honor veterans on 11-11-14, in front of Oxnard Veterans Memorial at Plaza Park (Photo: Citizensjournal.us)

No matter how you feel about America’s wars, almost everyone, almost regardless of political persuasion, color, or creed,  loves and respects our veterans. The vets didn’t choose our wars or battles, but had to fight them or otherwise support them, sometimes at very great personal and family cost. Veteran’s Day celebrates all vets, while Memorial Day, in May, celebrates the vets who didn’t make it home.

There are an estimated 30,000 veterans living in Ventura County and another 10,000 on active duty who call Ventura County home. A large portion of today’s attendees appeared to be veterans, judging from their dress, demeanor and what we heard. More than a dozen WWII vets showed up and populated the front row of spectators. There were even a couple on the VIP stand, including Mary Paine, a WWII female Marine (yes, such people existed) who spoke to us for a few minutes (see KMACTV VIDEO). We were told that there were 16 million WWII vets, approximately 1 million still live nearly 70 years later, but about 600/day are dying off. So, honor them while they’re still around. There were plenty of Iraq, Viet Nam, Afghanistan and Korean War vets there as well, along with a few from other miscellaneous conflicts.  I also talked with people who were stationed in Germany, Philippines, Japan and at various U.S. bases. Some of us tried to thank as many vets as we could. They seemed almost as happy about that as we were grateful for what they have done for us.  There were people I have seen before who I had no idea were veterans.

WWII whocan stand to be recognized do so

WWII vets who can still stand to be recognized do so at Oxnard 11-11-14 Veterans Day celebration (Photo: Citizensjournal.us)

The program was emceed by Mike Vivenzio, Commander, American Legion Oxnard Post 48.  The City Hall flag raising and brief speeches were emceed by Mayor Tim Flynn at City Hall, who then kicked off the march to Plaza Park. Police and Fire Depts provided security.

Chaplain Bill Winter (American Legion Post #48) did the invocation. Steve Weber, Chair of the Veterans’ Memorial Committee, introduced the guests. Christine Portillo and Phil Navarro sang the national anthem, as well as America The Beautiful, accompanied by Oxnard HS Band. Boy Scouts led the Pledge of Allegiance. Additional speakers: VC Veteran Service Officer Mike McManus; 16th District Commander David Forney. Echo taps by Oxnard HS Band. Closing prayer by Chaplain Bill Winter.

Marty paine, 94 year-old WWII Marine vet speaks  at Oxnard 11-11-14 Veterans Day celebration (Photo: Citizensjournal.us)

Mary Paine, 94 year-old WWII Marine vet, speaks at Oxnard 11-11-14 Veterans Day celebration (Photo: Citizensjournal.us)

Politicians spoke well of our veterans: Mayor Tim Flynn, Congresswoman Julia Brownley. Also Attending were Councilman Bert Perello, Councilwomen Carmen Ramirez and Dorina Padilla, as well as Ventura County Supervisor John Zaragosa. We apologize if we missed some names.

There was a ceremonial laying of flower pots and a memorial wreath ….

Oxnard News, Oxnard veterans' Memorial 11-11-4 by Gold Star Wife Inge McClurg and ER Cory Gray Oxnard Elks (Photo: Citizensjournal.us)

Ceremonial laying of the wreath at Oxnard Veterans’ Memorial 11-11-14 by Gold Star Wife Inge McClurg and ER Cory Gray Oxnard Elks (Photo: Citizensjournal.us)

 

Ceremonial laying of flowers at Oxnard Veterans' Memorial 11-11-14 (Photo: Citizensjournal.us)

Ceremonial laying of flowers by Sons of American Legion Squadron #48 at Oxnard Veterans’ Memorial 11-11-14 (Photo: Citizensjournal.us)

Free/discounted food or admission was offered to Veterans today by Carnegie Art Museum, California Slice Pizza, Fresh & Fabulous Cafe, La Dolce Vita Restaurant, The Kitchen, Nawlinz 805 Grill.  The Oxnard Elks offered free hot dogs, chips and drinks to all at Plaza Park.

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Christine Portilla and Phil Navarro sang the National Anthem and America the Beautiful as local officials and veterans looked on, at Oxnard Veterans’ Day celebration -11-11-14 (Photo: Citizensjournal.us)

 

Oxnard H.S. band prepares to play and march to Plaza Park on Veterans Day 11-11-14 (Photo: Citizensjournal.us)

Oxnard H.S. band prepares to play and march to Plaza Park on Veterans Day 11-11-14 (Photo: Citizensjournal.us)

 

Rio Mesa High School marching band prepares (Photo: Citizensjournal.us)

Rio Mesa High School marching band prepares at Oxnard 11-11-14 Veterans Day celebration (Photo: Citizensjournal.us)

Let’s hope, pray and help ensure that politicians use our armed forces wisely and treat veterans with the respect and resources that they deserve. No one is more responsible for our freedom than they are.

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Some veterans such as lifelong Oxnard resident and Army veteran paratrooper Ed Mendez, look like they could still kick butt (Photo: Citizensjournal.us)

Viet Nam U.S. Army  vet Juan Diaz was at the Oxnard Veteran's Day celebration (Photo: Citizensjournal.us)

U.S. Army Viet Nam vet Juan Diaz was at the Oxnard Veteran’s Day celebration. He looks forward to upcoming Oxnard HS 50th reunion. (Photo: Citizensjournal.us)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mayor Flynn kicks off the festivities, flag-raising, march to Plaza Park from City Hall at Oxnard Veterans' Memorial 11-11-14 (Photo: Citizensjournal.us)

Mayor Flynn kicks off the festivities, flag-raising, march to Plaza Park, from City Hall at Oxnard Veterans’ Day celebration- 11-11-14 (Photo: Citizensjournal.us)

 

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Naval Base Honor Guard and Boy Scouts’ color guard participate in Oxnard Veteran’s Day celebration 11-11-14 (Photo: Citizensjournal.us)

 

Girl Scouts, Daisies, Brownies, Salvation Army and more come down 3rd St. to B Street at 2014 Oxnard Veteran's Day event (Photo: Citiozensjournal.us)

Girl Scouts, Daisies, Brownies, Salvation Army and more come down 3rd St. to B Street at 2014 Oxnard Veteran’s Day event (Photo: Citizensjournal.us)

 

American Legion Riders staging

American Legion Riders staging at Oxnard Veteran’s Day celebration 11-11-14 (Photo: Citizensjournal.us)

 

Key Club, City Corp. and more march at Oxnatrd Veterans Day celebration 11-11-14 (Photo: Citizensjournal.us)

Key Club, City Corp. and more march at Oxnard Veterans Day celebration 11-11-14 (Photo: Citizensjournal.us)

 

The rtest of the crowd marches over to Plaza Park at 11-11-14 Oxnard Veterans Day celebration (Photo: Citizensjournal.us)

The rest of the crowd marches over to Plaza Park at 11-11-14 Oxnard Veterans Day celebration (Photo: Citizensjournal.us)

Soemone told us these are all Oxnard H.S. militray vets at 2104 Veterans Day celebration. Can anyone confirm this?  (Photo: Citizensjournal.us)

Someone told us these are all Oxnard H.S. military vets at 2014 Veterans Day celebration. Can anyone confirm this? (Photo: Citizensjournal.us)

 

The Army was there recruiting

The Army was there recruiting at 2014 Oxnard Veteran’s Day event – http://www.goarmy.com/ – (Photo: Citizensjournal.us)

Event sponsors were: City of Oxnard, American Legion Oxnard Post #48, Oxnard Elks Lodge #1443, Disabled American Vets Chapter 99, Amvets Post 5, Oxnard Downtowners, Oxnard Downtown Management District, U.S. Armed Forces Recruiting Station, Naval Base Ventura County Color Guard, Oxnard Salvation Army, Oxnard City Corp, Oxnard Fire Dept., H.E.R.O.S., Oxnard Kiwanis, Pacific Produce, Produce Available, Oxnard and Rio Mesa High School Marching Bands, PAL, Oxnard Boys and Girls Club, Boy Scouts, Oxnard Convention and Visitors Bureau.

All in all, this was a worthwhile, lovely and dignified event- a real tribute to our honored veterans.  Great to see so many of them there among the hundreds of participants. Thank you Mayor Flynn, City of Oxnard, veteran organizations and sponsors who made it happen, veterans and public who participated. After a competitive and controversial election which is still not fully resolved, it’s REALLY nice to see Oxnard unite for a common cause!

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George Miller is Publisher of Citizensjournal.us and a “retired” operations management consultant, active in civic affairs, living in Oxnard.

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One Response to It’s Veteran’s Day in Oxnard

  1. Tomas Molina January 23, 2020 at 11:36 am

    To Whom it may concern

    I see a picture of Juan Diaz on this site. I have been looking for him a very long time a very good friend some how we lost track Please do me a great favor menition me Tomas Molina former 8in Arttllery from Oxnard he will remember me he can call me 559 363 2028 Thank You so much

    Reply

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