I appreciate the mission of your organization to recognize the men and women who serve our country – it is incredibly humbling yet gratifying to know my fellow Americans are aware of the sacrifices we’ve made and realize, grasp and value the efforts we’ve made and continue to make. It is especially gratifying to see this in the East Bay as I grew up here. First Oakland, then Lafayette (attended Pleasant Hill Elementary, Intermediate and High School) – I remember how it was around here prior to 9/11.
Your mission to continually remind the communities around here is commendable as it easy to forget. I remember when the Cold War ended and the military closed a quarter of its bases nationwide the Bay Area was hit particularly hard. No more Mare Island, Treasure Island, Concord Naval Weapon Station, Presidio, Fort Mason, Oakland Army Base, Oak Knoll Hospital, Letterman Hospital, Moffett Naval Air Station, Alameda Naval Air Station, etcetera. All gone now due to the “leadership” of the politicians around here. What’s left? Travis Air Force Base and Camp Parks. So seeing people in uniform around here is quite rare. I had many people tell me Friday they weren’t aware that Walnut Creek had its own National Guard armory and they have lived in Walnut Creek their entire lives! You won’t let them forget and on behalf of the people here in the Bay Area who serve in the active-duty, National Guard and reserve allow me to emphatically reiterate our gratitude not only for your recognition but that of the entire community!
I especially appreciate seeing the VFW, American Legion and Blue Star Moms there as they all know and understand and can relate to the sacrifice. And the Vietnam Veterans? We can never, ever express our gratitude to them too much. Or the veterans of “The Forgotten War” in Korea. The Greatest Generation? Every time I stand in their presence I am honored and humbled.
In the fall of 1982 I was a young 18 year old Airman Basic being trained as an aircraft weapons mechanic on the F-4 PHANTOM in Denver, Colorado at another base that has been closed over the last twenty years (Lowry). I volunteered to march in the Veteran’s Day Parade and was paired up with a World War One “doughboy”! He was in his late 70s at the time yet marched through downtown Denver with me through the entire route and I will never forget that day and always remember that’s when I first grasped the connection. When Corporal Frank Buckles passed away (“Pershing’s Last Patriot“) I went out to the World War One Memorial on Boyd Road in Pleasant Hill (see attached pics) to celebrate him as well. So I certainly ‘get’ where you and your members are coming from and am grateful for all of the efforts you make taking the time out of your lives to do the wonderful things you all do.
I also have to reiterate once again the appreciation I have for all of you recognizing my father, sister and wife. As the poet John Milton so eloquently stated, “They also serve who only stand and wait.” My brother could not make it but he loved the slideshow your people put together and my late mother I felt was there in spirit. Very, very moving – my friend.
The military recognizes us with awards, ribbons and medals and those are all gratifying to be recognized for the accomplishments we’ve made. But to have the civilian community – my local politicians, my mayor, my fire department, my police department – and the people who live and work in my local community day by day – was something I was not prepared for and was simply blown away by the recognition not only for the recent deployment to east Africa but the thirty years I’ve put in so far as well. Thank you, Bryan. God Bless You, God Bless Spike and God Bless You All!
~ Captain Dave Yuers, USAF
“The four cornerstones of character on which the structure of this nation was built are: Initiative, Imagination, Individuality and Independence.” ~ Captain Eddie Rickenbacker, USAF (1890 – 1973)
P.S. I LOVED the Harleys!!!!