Brawley Honors Veterans with Grateful Hearts

Brawley Mayor Donnie Wharton addresses those attending the Veterans Day Memorial in Plaza Park

BRAWLEY — Gathering at dusk, a solemn crowd listened as Pastor Ted Koroluk of Western Avenue Baptist Church spoke of God and country before the gleaming black marble Veterans’ Wall with names of those who served in our military engraved in white. Citizens of all colors and ages came to honor those who served our country, and to honor those willing to give their last measure to ensure the freedoms enjoyed today.

Brawley’s Veterans’ Day Ceremony was poignant, patriotic, and filled with gratitude. Rows of chairs formed a semi-circle around the Veterans’ Wall of Honor on the North Plaza Park. And people continued to come until it was standing room only, some dressed in uniform, others with caps signifying their branch of service, some in wheel chairs.

President of the Veterans’ Association, Ramon Castro, introduced veterans Jim Hamilton and Sam Palomares, allowing them to say a few words about their military service.

Castro made a comment on how, after returning from duty, both Palomares and Hamilton continued to serve their communities in many ways, including jobs they both took on to head the Valley’s local political party chairmanships, one for the Democratic Party and one for the Republicans.

The keynote speaker for the evening was Gold Star father, Pat Pace, whose son, Army Capt. Scott Pace died four years ago during battle in Operation Enduring Freedom. Pace spoke of that fateful day in Afghanistan, the leadership his son displayed, his courage, and his sacrifice for his men. Although Capt. Pace and his co-pilot did not survive that day, his men did.

The ceremony closed with a candle-lighting, Kelly Rodriguez singing “Amazing Grace” and a moment of silence to honor those who gave all for our freedom.