North State salutes those who served at Northern California Veterans Cemetery

Nov 11, 2014 7:21 PM by Charlene Cheng

A 21-gun salute, musical tributes, and a military flyover, the Veterans Day ceremony at the Northern California Veterans Cemetery was a celebratory occasion for the men and women who have served our country, living and dead.

"They estimate there are 22 to 25 million living veterans. You can't really thank enough the folks, the 1.4 million who have been wounded in action, or the 650,000 who have died in action," said Michael Coffey, who served as master of ceremonies.

93-year-old Pearl Harbor survivor Louis Conter took the stage as this year's veteran speaker.

He recalled his time aboard the USS Arizona.

"December 7, 1941, a day of infamy, must be remembered so the United States of America will not be so complacent that it could happen again, but also for the 2,403 military veterans who lost their lives that day, including 1,177 of my shipmates aboard the USS Arizona," Conter said.

The setting of the ceremony holds particular significance.

Nine years ago, the Northern California Veterans Cemetery was designated as a final resting place, and over the years, it's become a shrine to the men and women who have served.

"There's a medal of honor recipient over here. One of the last living persons to raise the flag of Iwo Jima is buried here. So history's here, and this is the place where people come to remember veterans, and to honor them," cemetery administrator Stephen Jorgensen said.

And if you come across a veteran on this day, or any other day, a simple show of gratitude goes a long way.

"I think if you know they're a veteran, I think it's proper to thank them for their service," Jorgensen said.


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