Lakeside VFW Post honors fallen at Memorial Day ceremony

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The Lakeside VFW held its 71st annual Memorial Day ceremony on May 29. 

More than 200 people attended to show their support and respect for the fallen heroes who made the ultimate sacrifice to protect our freedom and liberty since the inception of this country.

Among the honored guests was Pearl Harbor survivor Adam Romero.

The Lakeside VFW held its 71st annual Memorial Day ceremony on May 29. 

More than 200 people attended to show their support and respect for the fallen heroes who made the ultimate sacrifice to protect our freedom and liberty since the inception of this country.

Among the honored guests was Pearl Harbor survivor Adam Romero.

El Cajon resident and musician Cory Wilkens sang to attendees as they filed in; young members of the Buddy Poppy Court passed out the red faux flowers that have been the symbol for Memorial Day since 1922. Local Boy Scouts Packs 342 and 346 and Troop 346 served as color guard, carrying our flags to the front of the auditorium as the crowd gave its respects. Wilkens then sang our national anthem.

Post Commander Steven Williams, finishing his third year in that position, acted as master of ceremonies. Congressman Duncan Hunter and State Sen. Joel Anderson were guest speakers.

Hunter relayed a heart-wrenching story of selflessness heroism and a “shared act of courage” by two soldiers in 2008 Iraq who saved dozens, but not themselves. “We don’t have victims, we have a warrior class,” Hunter said.

Anderson spoke of his gratitude and appreciation for all who have given the ultimate sacrifice for our country.

When it came time for the ritual laying of the wreaths, Mr. Adam Romero stepped up to do his part once again. A WWII veteran and Pearl Harbor survivor, Mr. Romero now lives in Lakeside with his wife. On December 7, 1941, he was on board the USS Dobbin when the Japanese bombs were dropped on American forces. Romero survived the attack and fought throughout the war. Sadly, one of his shipmates – Howard Carter – was killed during that attack. Carter (1917-1941) is one of the namesakes of the Lakeside VFW, officially known as the Carter-Smith VFW Post 5867. The VFW is also dedicated to another Pearl Harbor victim: Rowland Smith (1921-1941), of the USS Oklahoma.

The Lakeside VFW was created on Feb. 6, 1946 (and moved into its present site in 1956). Steven Williams has been the post commander for the past three years. A 21-year Marine Corps vet, Williams went straight to the VFW position after leaving the service. He is due to step down on June 10. The new post commander will be Paula Jansen, the first female commander in the Lakeside VFW’s history. Keeping it in the family, the new president of the auxiliary will be Paula’s daughter, LeAnna Brown. This may be the first mother/daughter pairing in the country.

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