CALEXICO â€“ Memorial Day is a time to remember those who died, but we also remember those who served, and those who carry on. In honor of such bravery, the City of Calexico held its First Annual Lunch with a Veteran, on Monday, May 25, at the Carmen Durazo Cultural Arts Center.
Military displays of honored veterans beautifully filled the arts center as family members had the opportunity to display their most cherished pictures, coats, badges and memorabiliaâ€™s of their loved ones fallen during the times of war.
The ceremony commenced with the Post of the Colors by the Calexico Police Explorers, followed by the flag salute and the National Anthem, angelically sang by Natalia Lozano.
Over 200 guests attended the event and shared stories as well as memories. Rudolph â€œRudyâ€™ Villalobos, World War II Veteran was honored at the luncheon.
â€œItâ€™s amazing how this little city picked me up, I was born in Anaheim, CA. in 1923 and I came here and made El Centro my home. I joined the service in 1942 at the age of 19. A few weeks ago ,Â Mayor John MorenoÂ presented me with the keys to the city which was an honor to receive,” said Rudolph â€œRudyâ€™ Villalobos, World War II Veteran.
Ernest Medina, Military Veteran shared his family story â€œWe were four boys in our family, my father Ernest Medina Sr. who served in the Pacific, brother Mario who was stationed in Germany, Henry in South Korea, Eddy who served in Vietnam and myself, I Â served in South Korea during the Vietnam War.â€ My mother prayed day after day for us to return safe, and it was indeed her prayers which brought us back safeâ€ said Medina.
Calexicoâ€™s youth strongly participated earlier, along with the Vindiola family, Â in the placing of flags on the veteran’s tombs at the cemetery in the early morning .
â€œIt is a tradition for the Vindiola family to place American flags on the tombs of the fallen soldiers at the Mt. View Cemetery, and this year was not the exception. I feel very proud of this family tradition, as a matter of fact, this was the first year my great-grand daughter, six-year-old Camila participated and placed flags on the tombs as well,â€ said Joe Vindiola, Korean War Veteran and Master of Ceremonies.
Lunch was provided and cooked by the Calexico Baja Runners.
To our fallen soldiersâ€¦You have done your duty. To honor you is ours.[envira-gallery id=”58166″]