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Ojai community joins forces to honor veterans on Veterans Day

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OVN file photo 

Wall of Remembrance, set to go up at the Libbey Park tennis courts in honor of Veterans Day Nov. 11.

 

Perry Van Houten, Ojai Valley News senior reporter

Local veterans from all branches of the armed forces will be honored Thursday, Nov. 11, during Veterans Day activities in Ojai.

The event, sponsored by Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 11461, begins with a free breakfast for veterans ($4 for non-vets) from 7 to 10 a.m. at the American Legion Hall, 843 E. Ojai Ave.

 

A free concert follows from noon to 2 p.m. at Libbey Bowl, with a program that features young singers from Ojai — all students of voice coach Asunta Fleming — performing patriotic songs such as “America the Beautiful.” 

“These kids have gorgeous voices,” said event organizer Nancy Hill.

Included in the program at the Bowl are the presentation of the flag by the color guard, the National Anthem sung by Shanti Kettles, music by violinist Christopher Reutinger and speakers Steve Quilici and this reporter.

“It’s just a different kind of program this year. It’s going to be beautiful,” said Hill.

The Wall of Remembrance, a series of posters commemorating approximately 2,300 Ventura County veterans will be on display at the Libbey Park tennis courts.

The Wall was begun by Hill and historian and author David Pressey more than 10 years ago.

Approximately 90% of the veterans honored on the Wall of Remembrance are from the Ojai Valley, said Hill, who could use some help hanging the posters. “We’d love to have some tall people,” she said. “The stories are interesting. You get lost in them.”

Be at the tennis courts at 7:30 a.m. if you’d like to help out, Hill said.

In August, the American Legion Auxiliary and the Veterans of Foreign Wars held an Italian dinner at the American Legion Hall to raise money to fund the Veterans Day event.

Use of Libbey Bowl was donated by the city of Ojai, Hill said.

This Veterans Day marks the 103rd anniversary of Armistice Day, when the Allies and Germany signed a cease-fire agreement that ended World War I.

The holiday honors U.S. veterans from all conflicts — the World Wars, Korea, Vietnam, the Gulf Wars, Afghanistan and Iraq.

“American soldiers do not fight because they hate what’s in front of them, but because they love what is behind them,” said Hill.

And many of Ojai’s veterans returned to the valley and got involved in the community. “They not only served their country, they came home and served this town, and kept serving,” Hill said. “We’re very fortunate here.”

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