Various organizations throughout Douglas held a variety of Veterans Day events last week.
It was followed by a memorial service held in front of the Douglas Veterans Memorial on the corner of Pan American and G. This year’s grand marshal was Michael Arias. The U.S. Army 62nd Band from Fort Huachuca performed the national anthem and patriotic selections.
Arias served one year of close combat during the Vietnam War with A Company 2/28th infantry, 1st Infantry Division. He also served with 1st Infantry Division Supply and Transportation.
He received medals and awards in Combat Infantryman Badge (Operation Manhattan in the Iron Triangle), the Purple Heart for Operation Manhattan, the Bronze Star with “V” device for valor during Operation Shenandoah II, the 1st Infantry Division Certificate of Achievement Citation, the Black Lion Extraordinaire Certificate and the Army Commendation Medal for the 1968 Tet offensive.
During his speech he recognized all those who served during the Vietnam War asking them to introduce themselves along with the name of division and branch of service.
“We who served in the Vietnam War have a saying ‘some gave and all gave some’,” Arias said. “I am truly humbled to stand here today.”
A 21-gun salute was rendered by the 2220th Army National Guard and the benediction was done by Mitchell Priest, Chaplin of Sons of the American Legion.
“Today we honor our veterans and extend hands to say thanks. Shaking hands is a small way to show our appreciation for the freedoms that we have. Everyday should be treated as Veterans Day,” Priest said. “Today is a true day for giving thanks we ask that god extend his love and protection for veterans serving near and far and around the world. We ask the lord that they have long days and pleasant nights and bring them home safe. May God bless them and protect them and hold them in his loving hands forever and ever.”
Also presented at the ceremony was a new flag to Roman Barroso, troop leader of the Boy Scouts Troop 430 and Director of Radiology at Southeast Arizona Medical Center, with his troop accepted a new flag that was raised after the observance, at SAMC. “They retired their old flag and raised a new flag and new beginnings at the hospital,” Kathleen Gomez said.
An open house followed at the American Legion with the dedication of the legion bell.
“This bell is being placed here for a number of reasons, first, to identify this post as an American Legion establishment, second, to honor all aspects of the post, the American Legion Riders, the Auxiliary, the Sons of American Legion, and the legion itself,” said Walt Howe, president of the American Legion Riders here in Douglas. “Thirdly, it will identify and honor all branches of the military and the POQ/MIA’s. Though this endeavor started as an American Legion Riders project, it rapidly evolved to become a American Legion and community event.”
On Friday, Nov. 9 there was an assembly held at Ray Borane Middle School put on by local resident Rosemary Owen, a mother of one of Douglas’ bravest.
This was the 12th year Owen held the assembly for the Ray Borane students. The program, called Forget-Me-Not, featured the traditional presentation of colors by the DFD Honor Guard as well as speeches by various members of the community. There was also a presentation of the eight flags flown under Americas command.
Students were informed the proper way to fold a flag and what each fold means. Veteran Robert Rodriguez explained the meaning of the POW-MIA flag and what KIA means. He also told them how the Korean War became the forgotten war.
Names of local soldiers who died in war from WWI up to just recently in the Iraqi War were also read.
Ms. Ginny Jordan presented a power point presentation about the old train depot in Douglas and how people used to know when a Douglas soldier who had been killed in action, came home.
The entire ceremony lasted about 90 minutes.
On Thursday, Nov. 8 Douglas High School had its own ceremony.
The program was sponsored by the American Legion Auxiliary and American Legion. The master of ceremonies was Student Body President Marco Noriega.
The DFD Honor Guard presented the colors. The U.S. Army 62nd Band performed the national anthem and patriotic selections.
Both Douglas High School Principal Randy Walker and Mayor Danny Ortega Jr. welcomed all those who attended and thanked all the veterans present for their service and sacrifices.
The Girl State Citizens, Emilia Castillo, Cynthia Fernandez, Julie Robles and Frances Young, recited the prisoner of war (POW) and the missing in action (MIA) ceremony. The Boys State Citizens, Diego Luy and John Owen showed the proper way to fold a flag while Emilia Castillo told the students what each fold means.
“When we are born we are born in beauty. Respect, be faithful be hard working,” Guest speaker Mr. Don Jordan said. “In this world you walk in beauty. The spirit our veterans have they live in beauty and will leave this earth in beauty.”