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Honoring Our Veterans Through Spirit Of '45
by U.S. Navy Chief Petty Officer Ryan arnoldussen - October 6, 2014

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VENTURA, Calif. - The mayor of Agoura Hills, William Koehler, and the Greater Conejo Valley Chamber of Commerce president and CEO, Jill Lederer, joined the executive director at Meadowbrook Senior Living, Isaac Chernotsky, military veterans, senior leaders and Sailors from the Navy Operational Support Center (NOSC) Ventura County in celebrating the life and history of World War II, Korean, and Vietnam veterans during a Spirit of '45 event Aug. 12, 2014 held at Meadowbrook Senior Living at Agoura Hills, an assisted living and hospice care home.

Spirit of '45 commemorates the end of World War II 69 years ago and recognizes the generation of servicemen and women who served during World War II. They are the nation's oldest group of veterans.

Aviation Ordnance Second Class Jose Serrano, of Navy Operational Support Center, Ventura County, with Dave Swerdlow, U.S. Marine Corps, 4th Marine Division and a Meadowbrook Senior Living resident, during an event to honor the World War II veterans on August 12, 2014. (U.S. Navy photo by YN2 Paulyn Santiago)
Aviation Ordnance Second Class Jose Serrano, of Navy Operational Support Center, Ventura County, with Dave Swerdlow, U.S. Marine Corps, 4th Marine Division and a Meadowbrook Senior Living resident, during an event to honor the World War II veterans on August 12, 2014. (U.S. Navy photo by YN2 Paulyn Santiago)

VITAS Innovative Hospice Care arranged the visit at the Meadowbrook Senior Living at Agoura Hills assisted living center. The NOSC Ventura County Color Guard opened the event and Lyndsey Hale, VITAS veterans' community liaison, was the master of ceremonies.

"We are honored to be here," said Hale, also a military family descendant and navy spouse. "It is important to honor our flag, the symbol of the United States and the Veterans who served our nation. As a WWII Veteran once told me, WWII was the last time a war was truly won. It is near and dear to my heart to make sure our veterans are honored properly at end of life. It is even more important to me however to make sure our veterans are honored before that. The Spirit of '45 really is about preserving and remembering what our greatest generation went through to get us here."

Aviation Ordnanceman 2nd Class Jose Serrano, NOSC Ventura County, petty officer in charge of the color guard, felt the weight of the world was on his shoulders before parading the colors.

"I thank God for the men and women who went before us for the liberty and the freedoms we have today," said Serrano.

Personnel Specialist 3rd Class Ronnerick Rios, NOSC Ventura County, performed in the color guard and stayed after to visit with the veterans and senior citizens. "After talking and hearing their incredible stories of service, they reminded me why I chose to serve in the Navy.”

Personnel Specialist 3rd Class Ronnerick Rios, of Navy Operational Support Center, Ventura County, with Lt. Arthur, Navy World War II veteran and a Meadowbrook Senior Living resident, during an event to honor the World War II veterans  on August 12, 2014. (U.S. Navy photo by YN2 Paulyn Santiago)
Personnel Specialist 3rd Class Ronnerick Rios, of Navy Operational Support Center, Ventura County, with Lt. Arthur, Navy World War II veteran and a Meadowbrook Senior Living resident, during an event to honor the World War II veterans  on August 12, 2014. (U.S. Navy photo by YN2 Paulyn Santiago)

The national anthem and Pledge of Allegiance were performed, followed by speaker Capt. Tom Long, commanding officer, NOSC Ventura County. Long's grandfather served in World War II and the Korean War, and was on the USS Canberra, a Baltimore-class cruiser that was torpedoed in October 1944.

"We are here to honor, show our gratitude, and connect with our greatest generation of Americans. Today is a day to honor and give appreciation to you for all you have done for our great country. Over the years I have been honored to meet many WWII veterans. To me all WWII veterans are heroes. I grew up grew up hearing the stories from both my grandfather, as well as my father, who was about 8 years old, and tried to imagine what it would be like to live during that time. I often ask myself, would I be able to do what they did. Without your sacrifice and those who gave the ultimate sacrifice, we would not be here. Today will be memorable for me, and I know for others Sailors here with me today what they will be enriched by the history in this room and the opportunity to share their experiences," said Long.

"It was a great honor to be in the presence of all who have served before me and to talk to the spouses of some of the greatest men who served. In my time collaborating with them, the Golden Girls as they are often referred to at Meadowbrook, it has become manifest to me that we continue to honor our veterans and their stories but never forget to talk to the spouses about their experiences as well. I live by and value honor, courage and commitment and these women embodied all of these virtues with abundant distinction. I thoroughly enjoyed talking to them and only hope they got something from me as I did from them,” said Personnel Specialist 3rd Class Jeffery Riley, NOSC Ventura County. “Their stories were absolutely amazing and something that I will never forget.

NOSC Ventura County, located in Port Hueneme, California, conducts training, administration and execution of Navy Reserve policy for approximately 1,200 reserve Sailors in 39 administratively assigned units.

By U.S. Navy Chief Petty Officer Ryan arnoldussen
Provided through DVIDS
Copyright 2014

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