Veterans Day 2017 at the Living Memorial Sculpture Garden

Shareen Strauss
Bruce Clark of Mount Shasta, who served in the Navy from 1977 to 1983 on the USS Robert E. Lee Ballistic Missile submarine, brought his 9 year old son Cameron to witness his name being added to the Hot LZ Memorial Wall at the Living Memorial Sculpture Garden on Veterans Day. They point to where his name is added second from top. Cameron said, “I think this is cool. My dad is a hero.” By Shareen Strauss

“All gave some, some gave all...” are the words at the top of the program handed out during the Veterans Day ceremony held Saturday, Nov. 11 at the Living Memorial Sculpture Garden north of Weed.

About 200 people attended the event honoring veterans on the 11th day of the 11th month at the 11th hour, when it was established that the end of World War I in 1918 was “the end of war to end all wars,” according to master of ceremonies Dean Whetstine, Retired Commander United States Navy and president of the Weed/Lake Shastina Kiwanis Club.

Many of those attending brought chairs and sat in front of the Hot LZ Memorial Wall honoring veterans, as speaker US Army Sgt. 1st Class, Retired Army nurse Susan LaGrange talked about what being a veteran means to her. “Imagine what a veteran looks like,” she said while describing her uncle, who was a soldier in Vietnam. She talked about the letters he sent during his term that she and her family cherished and how, 30 years later, she was writing letters to him from overseas as an Army nurse.

“Seven percent of our population are veterans that have served our country,” LaGrange said. “We lived the values in basic training and carried it on through our lives. To have honor, respect, integrity, personal courage... Veterans are the ones who will help a short person in the grocery store get something off the top shelf. They are your grandparents, aunt, uncle, father, mother, son and daughter...”

She asked for all the veterans to stand and raise their right hand to recite the oath to office.

Kiwanis Club past-president Robert Menzies, along with Suzanne Breceda and Nancy Wallace read the dedication of names added to the Memorial Wall (see list below).

“Veterans are put on this earth to defend freedom,” said Menzies, who then offered a prayer.

He noted that a day prior to Veterans Day, the United States Marine Corps celebrated its 242nd birthday.

Siskiyou County Sheriff Chaplin Jim Jacobsen, who serves all law enforcement in Siskiyou County, said his father and two brothers served in Vietnam. “I grew up on military bases as an Army brat,” he said. “My son is in law enforcement. I am excited to be here.”

Members of the American Legion Cheula Post 92 were among the crowd. Post 92 Auxiliary member Cindy Franklin explained that Silvestro Cheula, whom the McCloud Legion is named after, died on 11-11-1918, the last day of World War I.

“People came to pay their respects from the Sacramento area and from Oregon,” said Whetstine. Lillian Roach of Riverside drove up that morning to honor her family members who are on the Memorial Wall, including her sons William and Brett Valentine, whose names were added during the ceremony.

Bruce Clark of Mount Shasta, who served in the Navy from 1977 to 1983 on the USS Robert E. Lee Ballistic Missile submarine, brought his 9 year old son Cameron to witness his name being added to the wall. Cameron said, “I think this is cool. My dad is a hero.”

The ceremony opened and closed with the Jefferson Bagpipe Band. The Color Guard, which consisted of the Marine Corps League, Siskiyou Detachment 936, followed.

The National Anthem was sung by Lindsay Rynda, Cantor for St. Joseph Catholic Church in Yreka.

The gun salute was performed by Marine Corp League Siskiyou Detachment 936 which included Sheriff Jon Lopey. Taps was played by navy brat Tracy Savage.

Since 1992, Kiwanis International Club of Weed/Lake Shastina has taken over the Living Memorial Sculpture Garden and has conducted memorial veteran ceremonies every Memorial Day and Veterans Day.

“I think it went very well,” said Whetstine. “Each time we have a new speaker. We picked Susan by her reputation and word of mouth. She was especially strong. She has earned many medals including the Bronze Star and the Army Achievement Medal. She started the Siskiyou County Women’s Veteran Council and is currently with Hospice in Yreka. I was moved by her speech and so were the 200-plus people that were here today. She brought people to tears mixing her stories with heart felt warmth and humor.”

Each year 30 to 60 names are added to the wall. Living Memorial Sculpture Garden has a website to apply for enrolling names on the wall. There is a price for the engraving, and official documentation showing discharge from the service is required. Go to LMSG.org for more information.

Veterans Day 2017 Names added to the Hot LZ Memorial Wall were:

BT2 Edward A. Cassel, USN VN

SGT Roderick M. Solano, USAF VN

SP4 Kearney G. McConnell, USA VN

PFC Dennis M. Burkell, USA VN

PFC James E. Whitley, USA WWII

PFC William A. Stowell, USA Korea

GM3 Donald Griffin, USN WWII

AK3 Larry A. Smith, USN VN

AT3 Sam W. Skiles, USN, VN

Capt J. William Lohaman, USN VN

Tech 5 Arthur M. Oisen, USA WWII

SP5 Craig H. Shvonski, USA VN

SPC Roger L. Warner, Jr, USA OEF

SPC Kyle P. Kallstrom, USA OIF GWT

SGT John W. Bartholomew, USA WWII

S2C Donald J. Gullock, USN WWII

S2C Doug Tomasini, USN WWII

CPL Orville R. Hardin, USMC Korea

SSGT William W. Valentine, USAF VN Korea 

RM3 Brett E. Valentine, USCG

SGT William C. McCarthy, USN WWII

PHM3 Versa J. McCarthy, USN WWII

EM1 Bruce A. Clark, USN

SGT Vincent F. Padilla, USA WWII

SP3 Kermith R. Wheeler, USN VN Korea 

BM2 Dwight L. Roberts, USNR WWII

MM1 William K. Walden, USN VN

SM1 Emmett B. Landrum, USN WWII

RM1 Joseph I. Valdez, Jr., USN WWII