San Diego shows appreciation for veterans

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SAN DIEGO – Veterans Day is a way to show those who have answered the call of duty how much this nation appreciates their sacrifices.

The military has always held a special place in San Diego as several naval installations protect the shoreline and Marine Corps bases.

On Sunday, thousands helped honor past and present service members by attending San Diego’s annual Veterans Day parade complete with band and pageantry units, community organizations, and elected officials walking, dancing, and riding down the Pacific Highway parade route.

Sergio Santoro spent Veterans Day with his wife and son at the Veterans Museum and Memorial Center, in Balboa Park.  While they were there, he and his family made cards to send to the men and women serving our country overseas.

“We just wanted to show a little bit of appreciation for their sacrifice,” said Santoro.  “These cards go a long way. It’s an intangible gift that can never be replaced by any material thing, just a thank you.”

And he should know.  Santoro and his wife are both active duty service members.

“We don’t serve because we want to hear thank you,” said Santoro, “It’s an added appreciation to know that our fellow Americans care.”

Ted Pannell, a Vietnam veteran and the author of a book titled “Vietnam Stories” agrees.

“Just a very simple thank you and handshake is appreciated from all the veterans,” said Pannell.

Pannell said he spends Veteran Day honoring those left behind in battle.

“It’s very sad to think that you went over with a lot of young men and a lot of them stayed there and didn’t come back with you,” said Pannell. “It’s heart wrenching.”

A completely different kind of battle took place aboard the USS Midway Sunday afternoon.  The Aztecs played Syracuse University on the flight deck of the ship, a Veterans Day activity honoring this country’s service members.

“It’s really great to see everything that they’re doing for the troops,” said Vietnam veteran Mark Mellinger. “It’s great to see that we take care of the people who take care of this country.”

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