Wendy Alexander/The Madera Tribune
Honored guest speaker Major General Clay Garrison, Commander, California Air National Guard, left, and veterans Martin Medellin, seated, A. Michael De Cesare and Mokey Cowger salute during the annual Veterans Day Service at Courthouse Park on Sunday.
Maderans turned out on Sunday to celebrate the service and sacrifices of local military veterans.
Veterans Day commemorates the armistices signed at the 11th hour, of the 11th day of the 11th month 100 hundred ago in 1918, ending the hostilities of World War I
Members of the U.S. Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force, and Coast Guard were celebrated by the VFW Duo comprised of Mokey Cowger on keyboards and the voice of Priscilla Huerta-Ogletree. As they performed each branch of the military’s song, the veterans stood to be recognized.
The honored guest speaker was Major General Clay Garrison, commander of the California Air National Guard.
His attendance at these services held extraordinary meaning as Garrison grew up in Madera, attended local schools and graduated from Madera High School. He may be the highest-ranking officer native to Madera.
“It is an honor to talk to people from my hometown,” Garrison said. “We are here to pay tribute to all the military members who served or were lost to war.”
He detailed how when a member of the military is deployed his family, wives, and husbands serve as well as maintaining the home, and raising their children alone in his or her absence, he said.
“We are proud to serve our country and to maintain the tradition that has let our citizens live in freedom for 242 years,” Garrison said.
“Patriots are not born, they are made in the military, following the example of all the military members who served before them.
“It is important to thank a veteran for their service,” Garrison said. “It lets them know their sacrifices were not in vain and are appreciated by their fellow citizens.”
The services were staged by the American Legion Post 11, VFW Post 1981 and Boy Scout Troops No. 16 and 17.
Following the final prayer, everyone was invited to the Elks’ Lodge 1918 for a Thanksgiving-style turkey dinner with all the trimmings.