2020 MEMORIAL DAY MESSAGE
The Board of Directors of the Rancho Bernardo Veterans Memorial Association join me in extending sincere best wishes to all. As our Nation endures and overcomes the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, we also offer heartfelt condolences for those suffering loss and or economic hardship. Though it is necessary to cancel our annual Memorial Day Ceremony, conveying this Memorial Day Message helps us to remain steadfast in our commitment to honor the military personnel who died while serving in the United States Armed Forces.
The twenty-five year history of Memorial Day ceremonies at the Rancho Bernardo Veterans Memorial demonstrates the patriotism of many people throughout our entire community who each year work together to help fulfill the purpose of this national observance. While many local veterans are involved, the success of our programs also depends upon the contributions of many people with no personal military experience. The ceremonies are inclusive community gatherings with men, women, and youth from all walks of life.
The hard work of our many volunteers is justified by the long-lasting positive impacts from each Memorial Day Ceremony. The gatherings cultivate feelings of gratitude, as well as an appropriate combination of humility and pride. The honoring of our war dead and those who died while in military service inspire many to enhance their own contributions to the greater good. Our programs intentionally include many youth in order to provide them an opportunity to participate in patriotic events that encourage both public service and a commitment to lifelong responsible citizenship. The social interactions and fellowship that occurs at the Memorial Day Ceremony ultimately make us better people — individually and collectively. .
Fortunately the inability to host a public observance this Memorial Day does not diminish the importance of the day. Nor does it hinder our ability — personally or in small groups — to mourn and honor our fallen military personnel. However, the most meaningful commemorations of Memorial Day include public events with ceremonial acts of respect and gratitude
In addition to the annual Memorial Day Ceremony, the Rancho Bernardo Veterans Memorial Association, the Major Abraham J. Baum Post 7766 of the Veterans of Foreign Wars, and the General J.P. Holland Chapter of the Military Order of World Wars collectively host annual Independence Day and Veterans Day ceremonies. Each of these events depend upon financial support from donors, grant monies from the Rancho Bernardo Community Foundation, and many volunteers.
High school and college age students help local veterans distribute dozens of flyers throughout our community advertising our events. Volunteers fulfill the varied logistical requirements for the observances and programs. We benefit from many individuals as well as volunteer groups like the Northrop Grumman Rancho Bernardo VERITAS Community Services (Veterans, Employees, Reservists, Inspired to Act and Serve). Boy Scouts of America Troop 685 are deserving of special recognition for participating in every ceremony at our Memorial since its dedication nearly twenty-six years ago. Groups like the Westview High School Navy Junior Reserve Officers’ Corps Detachment often provide a color guard. There are volunteer soloist, musical performers, keynote speakers, and many others.
The Rancho Bernardo Spirit of the Fourth Committee positively impacts our annual Independence Day event as does the Bernardo Winery which loans us their historic bell for use in our Independence Day program. The local businesses in and around Webb Park help accommodate the crowds that our ceremonies generate and the Pearl Restaurant permits us to use their outdoor patio as a location for our audio equipment. The Bernardo Town Center Property Owners Association supports our functions. Moreover, there is the dependable reporting of our events by the Rancho Bernardo News Journal and occasional news coverage by other media outlets.
Our Memorial Day Ceremonies purposefully coincide with and immediately follow the Annual Pancake Festival honoring the military that our friends and supporters from the Rancho Bernardo Historical Society proudly host. Every Memorial Day Ceremony includes performances by the Rancho Bernardo High School Madrigals Choir (led by Director Lisa Friedrichs), making our programs more meaningful and special. In recent years, the generosity of Branches Floral Studio includes a wreath for our Memorial Day observance.
The Memorial Day and other annual patriotic ceremonies at the Rancho Bernardo Veterans Memorial are relevant, viable, and fundamentally important to our community. It is inspiring how so many members of our community are working to ensure these ceremonies continue indefinitely. This one time we are unable to gather together for Memorial Day does not deter us from pursuing meaningful work, cultivating healthy relationships, taking care of each other, and remaining loyal to the values that distinguish our Nation. Living life in this way truly honors our war dead and other fallen heroes from our Armed Forces.
The strength of our Memorial Association enables us to resume leading our annual ceremonies when prohibitions against public gatherings cease. Plan to join us. In the meantime, please contact me or any officer of our Association if you have a need, question, or concern that we may be able to assist.
Paul H. Atterbury
President, Board of Directors
Rancho Bernardo Veterans Memorial Association