These newly elected politicians love America, strength of family and those in the service of our country. Indeed, 25 newly elected members of Congress are veterans, which represents about half of the new house representatives who will take their seats.
As the town clock struck 11, a spectacular helicopter flyover brought cheers from the crowd as it roared down the parade route and back, so close that it absolutely skimmed the top of the trees as awed parade goers waved at a young soldier at a machine gun in the open side. There was also a seagull flyover, which received no response.
There were very talented, disciplined high school bands, veterans’ motorcycle groups, antique cars, old army vehicles, a marching veteran smartly dressed in a World War I uniform and an antique car with another man dressed as a WWI soldier and a woman companion dressed in the clothing of that period.
As each honor guard passed carrying the America flag, my cap came off with the rest and a salute was offered. At one point, tears rolled down my face, as happens at every veterans or Memorial Day celebration, as I can’t help but think of the two young soldiers who died next to me during my time in service during the Korean conflict. That is something I will never forget.
At the end of the parade, the crowd moved down to the Marina, where a Battle of the (high school) Bands took place. Leaders of the community spoke, along with high school students, at a special ceremony by the Veterans Memorial Monument.
Appreciation for veterans was shown by Pinkey’s Klassy Kar Wash, located on 18th Street in Antioch, by offering free, detailed car washes for veterans. Many vets showed up, and those working there greeted and welcomed each one and detailed each car as though it was a personal privilege for them to do so. And the care they gave each car was superb! I know I will certainly become a loyal customer, as they love vets and their prices are reasonable – surprisingly so, considering the thorough cleaning they do for your vehicle.
From there, a free lunch was given to all veterans at the VFW Hall on Fulton Shipyard Road hosted by former Mayor of Antioch, Mary Rocha and her husband, who is a veteran. Many area restaurants, including Applebees, offered free meals for veterans.
This was an incredible Veterans Day, which started the night before. In a special ceremony before the Mountain View Christian Center Intern Ministry Class, five individuals were sworn in, given orders, and presented by veterans Col. Dennis Edmoneson, 1st Lt. Kevin Graves and Gen. Dan Helix, respectively.
MVCC chaplains sworn in include Bill Phillips, with the rank of captain; Michael Smith, with the rank of sergeant E-5; Carleton Booker, with the rank of first lieutenant; and Linda Maxwell, with the rank of staff sergeant E-6. These newly installed military chaplains will study further to become certified MVCC chaplains (with exception of Pastor Carleton Booker, who is already certified).
An outreach ministry to military personnel and veterans is in the process of being established at MVCC in Oakley. I believe the church can do much more to support veterans. There will be veterans in every congregation.
To these churches, wherever you are, don’t ever let me hear of any of you using your pulpit to preach against war and calling soldiers “murderers,” as happened to a young soldier during the Korean conflict, who went to a church in Kansas for an encouraging Word from The Lord while in basic training. That young soldier was … me.
As for me and my church … we will welcome, support and serve our veterans. Happy Veterans Day to all.
Visit Miles’ website at www.revaustinmiles.com.