Thank You Veterans

Veteran John Medlin Honoring Others at Santa Monica Veterans Memorial on November 11, 2003 (See Comments Below for More on John’s Annual Veterans’ Day Ritual)

I want to take a moment on Veterans Day to thank all the men and women who have served in our country’s military.  While we should always remember our veterans, today is a special day to recognize sacrifices made by so many to protect our freedoms and rights.

I took the above photo on November 11, 2003 at the Veteran’s Memorial in Palisades Park in Santa Monica, California near where Wilshire Boulevard hits Ocean Avenue.  The Santa Monica Veterans Memorial is a very unique memorial consisting of 5 granite columns representing each branch of the military.  At the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month (which is when the Armistice for WWI was signed), the shadows from the columns line up exactly with the bricked-in shadows.  The man in the picture is standing on one of the bricked-in shadows and it is amazing to watch the shadows align with the brickwork.

Our family was visiting the memorial that year and just before 11am, this gentleman solemnly walked up to each of the 5 columns.  He placed a rose at the foot of the column, took 2 steps backward and snapped off a salute which he held for 10 seconds or more.  He then repeated this procedure at each of the columns.  It was a very moving tribute by just one individual, and one of my fondest Veterans Day memories.

3 thoughts on “Thank You Veterans

  1. I just learned that my friend and fellow Cub Scout Leader David McCarthy received the LA County Veteran of the Year award on November 2nd at the UCLA football game – announcement – http://ow.ly/BKqQ and picture -http://ow.ly/BKtM. Dave is a Lt. Col. in the Marine Corps Reserve and has served in Iraq, Afghanistan and other ‘hairy’ places where the Marines are called in to assist.

    Congratulations Dave!

  2. ***Update as of November 7, 2013***
    I received an email today from John Medlin who I captured in the photograph above 10 years ago. Thank you John for reaching out to me and may God Bless You as you continue your annual tradition in Santa Monica.

    Here is an excerpt from John’s email:
    “Every Veterans Day since I moved to Santa Monica in 1996 I have commemorated Veterans Day.

    From 1996-1999 I would join a WW II and a Korean War Veteran at the LA National Cemetery about four miles from here. At 11:00, on the 11th day of the 11th month we would come to attention and salute the flag. Unfortunately that ritual ended as the two others died, one of whom was a well known and respected TV producer, Lew Gallo, http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0303056/?ref_=tt_cl_t11

    For the last thirteen years I perform my ritual in Santa Monica where five obelisks for each of the five branches of the service were erected in 1998 – Army, Navy, Marines, Coast Guard, & Air Force. I lay a rose at the foot of each obelisk and then at 11/11/11, I call the Veterans in attendance, from 2 –10, to attention and then we salute the American Flag nearby. It’s important for me and still moves me after all these years. Looking for a picture of the obelisks I just found this picture of me taken in 2003 on the Internet. Thank you for posting it and your beautiful words.”

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