It was truly a sign of small-town patriotism when a retired Ripon cop, Steve Merchant, pulled up to the rear of the Veterans Day festivities on Wednesday with his recently purchased U.S. Army Jeep built-in 1942.
Ripon High School JROTC student honor guard marched into the event at the Veterans Wall and Museum at the corner of Locust and First streets with the American Flag as the audience of Ripon citizens raised to their feet at the 10:30 a.m. event.
Past American Legion Commander Ken Lawson opened the ceremonies with his bugle call.
Legionnaire Steve Verver served as master of ceremonies and welcomed the crowd to the annual event. Verver is the commander of the American Legion Sons Squadron 190. The Ripon Fire Department raised a battalion-sized flag from atop their 100-foot ladder truck.
All branches of service Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force, and the U.S. Coast Guard heard their anthems as those members in the audience were asked to stand.
The guest speaker was Lt.Commander John Chandler, Jr. ret.
A Veterans Honor Wreath was placed at the feet of a bronze statue of soldiers near the entrance of the Museum by Susan Lawson, president of the American Legion Auxiliary; Leslie Alday, president of the VFW Post 1051 as commanders of their respective posts Brad Cook and Christ Allen saluted the ceremony.
“If you know a veteran, tell him or her thank you for serving and let them know that we as citizens stand with them and we care,” was the theme of the event. “Without their service and ultimate sacrifice of many who died America would not be the home of the brave and the land of the free.”
The Invocation and Benediction were offered by Pastor Les Anderson.
The Veterans of Foreign Wars held an honor luncheon at their post on West Ripon Road following the ceremonies.