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Veterans recognized for service during annual Citrus Heights ceremony

Jack Frost, right, stands with attendees during a Veterans Day ceremony at Sylvan Cemetery on Wednesday. // M. Hazlip

By Mike Hazlip–
A Veterans Day ceremony was held Wednesday at Sylvan Cemetery in Citrus Heights, drawing a sprawling crowd of about 100 people of all ages, many of whom were retired or active duty military in uniform.

United States Marine Corps veteran Paul Reyes was the master of ceremonies for the event. Reyes served from February 1969 to September 1990. He said he was deployed twice to Vietnam, and once each to Grenada, and Panama.

“I’m no hero,” Reyes said. “The heroes in my generation are the almost 60,000 that are on the wall in Washington. Those are the heroes. They didn’t come home, I did.”

Reyes described Veterans Day as a happy occasion, recognizing those who served in the armed forces and made it home, while Memorial Day commemorates those who lost their lives in combat.

Sacramento County Supervisor Sue Frost gave opening remarks saying all Americans have a common ground despite differences in this divisive time.

“Our veterans fought in wars to defend our way of life,” she said. “We Americans come in all shapes and colors, but we are united in liberty. We are equal, we are free.”

In an interview after the event, Frost said veterans play a vital role in communities, “because sometimes you have to look back to history to have an understanding of where you are and how you’re going to move forward.”

Officers in dress uniform represented the Citrus Heights Police Department at the event. Police Chief Ron Lawrence offered remarks saying the police and military share a “kindred cousinship,” noting both professions are trained to run into danger. He also said there are 22 veterans currently serving in his department.

“It’s not hard to look around our nation and see communities that are suffering from riots, looting, violence, property damage,” said Lawrence. “But, here in Citrus Heights we have an unwavering support from each one of you. As your police chief, I’m proud to be here with you. We don’t police this community, we police with this community.”

United States Army veteran Jim Monteton gave closing remarks, telling colorful stories of his time in the military, which began when he enlisted at the age of 17.

“You start to learn so much more about the world. And all of this in a 3-year period. You go from 17, to somebody who knows a lot about what’s going on in the world, and a lot of people, and how people are different. I think it’s one of the greatest lessons that can be learned. Unfortunately there’s a lot of people who don’t join.”

Many veterans continue to serve their communities as police officers and fire fighters after being discharged from the military, according to Monteton. He said there are 1,400 veterans buried at Sylvan Cemetery.

The local cemetery is known for holding ceremonies on Veterans Day and Memorial Day each year.

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