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Veterans, Current Soldiers and a Family are honored at Lodi Veterans Day Event - November 11, 2007

By Ross Farrow
News-Sentinel Staff Writer
Thursday, November 15, 2007 3:46 PM PST

Lodi's American Legion post paid tribute Sunday to a Morada couple whose uncle disappeared in either northern Africa or southern Europe during World War II.

Ken Kramlich, membership chairman for the Legion's Area 3 and a former Lodi post commander, called Juan and Maria Aguirre to the front of a packed house during Sunday's tribute to veterans conducted at the American Legion Hall.

Juan Aguirre's uncle, Adolph Aguirre, an airman with the 44th Heavy Bombardment Group from the 67th squadron, was on a plane from northern Africa to Foggia, Italy, in 1942. The plane went down, but no one ever found the plane. Nor did anyone find Adolph Aguirre's body, according to his nephew, who is too young to have met him.

However, the Aguirres want their two small children to learn about the military and the sacrifices service men and women have made for the United States.

The tribute to the prisoners of war and those missing in action was a somber portion the Legion's Veterans Day observance before a packed house of 200 or more at the Legion Hall.

Don and Jeanne Phillips, owners of the Phillips Farms winery, didn't look like winegrape growers on Sunday at American Legion Hall. Don Phillips showed up wearing the same Navy uniform he wore during World War II. He served in Okinawa. (Ross Farrow/News-Sentinel)

The observance drew a big crowd despite being held smack-dab in the middle of a three-day weekend and during a time when church services were being held.

"We went (to church) last night so we can come here today," Don Phillips of Phillips Farms, who came dressed in the U.S. Navy uniform he wore during World War II, said Sunday after the Veterans Day program. He was stationed in Okinawa.

The Veterans Day observance could have been held today, the legal holiday, but Legion officials chose Sunday because the armistice ending World War I in 1918 was signed on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month.

The program featured remarks from Lodi Mayor Bob Johnson, San Joaquin County Supervisor Ken Vogel and Lt. Col. Richard Roberts. Assemblyman Alan Nakanishi, R-Lodi, and Gary Prost, representing Rep. Jerry McNerney, D-Pleasanton, were also present. The Lodi Community Band provided patriotic military music during the program.

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Rabbi Dr. Raphael Pazo plays the bagpipes before a large crowd Sunday at the Lodi American Legion's Veterans Day observance. (Ross Farrow/News-Sentinel)
 
In Johnson's address, he commented on how things aren't so good right now for the military, with the State Department mandating soldiers to go to Iraq multiple times, more than 400 service members committing suicide and one church in Kansas protesting at military funerals because of the church's belief that soldiers are dying because of American tolerance of homosexuality.

Shake a veteran's hand and thank him for his service the next time you see one, Johnson said.

The program also included a tribute to veterans by Lodi American Legion Post Commander Richard Parnacott, a community picnic and flag disposal ceremony for old and tattered American flags.
 
In addition to military music by the Lodi Community Band, Lodi Bagpiper, Rabbi Dr. Raphael Pazo Jr., dressed in full Scottish regalia and played "Amazing Grace" and other songs on a vintage set of bagpipes made in 1892..
Special Veterans Day Music Performed by Rabbi Dr. Raphael Pazo on the Great Scottish Highland Bagpipes:
 
"Amazing Grace", "Flowers of The Forest", "lament for the Fallen Heroes" (composed by Dr. Pazo for the event), " When Johnny Comes Marching Home", "Over There" ("The Yanks are Coming"), "My Country T'is of This", "El Alamein", "Barren Rocks of Aden","On Flanders Fields", "Abide with Me", U.S. Marine Corps Hymn",
 
Scottish/ British and Irish Songs: "Scotland the Brave and Black Bear", "Loch Lomond", "Battle of Waterloo", "Farewell to Camraw", The 79th Regiment Departure from Gibrartal", "Lord Lovat's Lament", "Misty Covered Mountains",Scottish Soldier", "Absent without Leave", "The Rowan Tree", "The Inverness Gathering",  "Hary Owen", Patty Mc Gintly's Goat", "The Walrus", "Cabar Feigh", "La Baum", "The Gaul" and other selections.
 

Pazo, also a Lodi police chaplain, walked significantly for the first time since January 2006, when he underwent the first of several surgeries for his back. He has used a wheelchair since he had surgery in June, but he stood up Sunday for Sunday's American Legion and played in honor of Veterans Day.

— News-Sentinel staff

Contact reporter Ross Farrow at rossf@lodinews.com.

Reader Feedback

dogbark wrote on Nov 16, 2007 4:29 PM:

" Rabbi Raphael Pazo plays the bagpipes; Oy Vey, ya gotta love that, only in Lodi! "

Cogito wrote on Nov 14, 2007 1:54 AM:

" We, as a Nation, owe every freedom to our veterans. We, as a Nation, need to make this day a bigger show of appreciation. But most of all, we, as a Nation, Need to take special care of those who were wounded as a result of defending us. They lost it all for us, there must be something we could do for them. God bless you soldier. "

citizen wrote on Nov 13, 2007 6:23 PM:

" Thanks now those are real men. "

Lodian wrote on Nov 13, 2007 10:03 AM:

" To THANKFUL: I agree. "

Lodian wrote on Nov 13, 2007 10:03 AM:

" Don and Jeanne Phillips, You look awesome! --From, A Friend "

THANKFUL wrote on Nov 12, 2007 1:52 PM:

" Thank you to our service men and women. I think we should make a bigger deal of this on Veteran's Day. We don't do enough as a town. "

OTH wrote on Nov 12, 2007 12:25 PM:

" A big thank you to all the vets past and present. Your service and sacrifice has made it possible for us to live a free life. "

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