A fitting tribute on Veterans Day
Wendy Alexander/The Madera Tribune
VFW Post 1981 Senior Vice Commander George Bloch and Auxiliary President Cindi Wood carry wreaths to be placed on the veterans memorial monuments during the Veterans Day Service at Courthouse Park.
When the Veteran community in Madera descended on Courthouse Park, they had a simple goal in mind — honor those that sacrificed their lives and those that continue to serve.
“It’s quite heartwarming to think of all my buddies that didn’t come home and just the veterans in general who put their lives on the line,” Royal Goodman said. “We thank all of those that are retired, the young ones that are serving today all around the world and, of course, those that didn’t make it home.
“The whole thing lasted an hour, but for me, it lasted a lifetime.”
Goodman and his fellow veterans, including David Rodrigues and Angela Ipock addressed the crowd that came to pay their respects Wednesday.
“The community’s support was amazing,” Goodman said. “To me, every day is Veterans Day and the more we can show the community, they’ll be able to look at veterans the same way I do. When you see a hat or see someone in the community and know they are a veteran, it would be a good thing to thank them because they have done a lot.”
Goodman and many in the veteran community, including the Madera VFW, erected flags all around Courthouse Park with a main stage where the speeches were delivered and God Bless America sang by a special guest.
VFW Post Commander Ipock, who is the California State Veterans & Military Programs Chairman, led the day’s festivities. Although just an hour, the Madera veteran’s community delivered a powerful presentation.
Courthouse Park might be known for its beautiful scenery and relaxing vibe, but it’s also home to a detailed military tribute to those have passed away from the Madera area.
The importance of Veterans Day and the park itself provides the perfect backdrop for the yearly holiday.
Having been leading the event the past four years, Ipock wanted to emphasize and change how veterans are revered and that includes those that are currently serving, those who have passed on and those that will serve in the future.
“My daughter is serving in the military and she is the sixth generation to serve,” Ipock said. “A lot of people think of Veterans Day and Memorial Day like a barbeque day, but it’s not. Veterans Day and Memorial Day are days to celebrate those of us who have given up their lives for God and country. It’s a very somber event.
“Now, those things like beer drinking and barbecuing can be added, but in the beginning of the day, it is important to honor them first. The day is about them and I believe it is incredibly important they get that recognition, even if they aren’t here.”
Ipock designed a program specific to that goal. With the music, her words, Ipock was motivated to deliver for the Madera community. Ipock maybe a transplant to Madera, but the spirit she has for the community is as strong as someone who’s lived there their whole life.
Ipock spoke about the viewpoints some had of soldiers back then and now. The Madera Post Commander conveyed the hurt and disbelief in the treatment many soldiers received returning home, specifically Vietnam. Ipock’s father was one of those men and now, Ipock does whatever she can to make sure all veterans get the respect they deserve.
“As an Afghanistan and Iraq veteran, we were treated much better than they were. It was a different story than and they deserved much better,” Ipock said. “I honor all veterans. I have World War II, Vietnam, the Korean War, Afghanistan, Iraq War and Gulf War veterans in the VFW. We have over 300 members and I wanted them to know that we are thankful for the services they gave us.
“And this goes for every veteran across the country. We all come from different backgrounds and places, but we are all Americans and we all fight for God and country.”
Aftre the event, veterans were treated to a free burrito from Tacos Los Girasoles.