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Veterans recognized at Grass Valley’s Veterans Memorial Building

Sam Corey
Staff Writer
Grass Valley Male Voice Choir Director Eleanor Kenitzer spoke at Grass Valley's Veterans Memorial Building Monday before leading her choir in song.
Sam Corey/scorey@theunion.com

The hall was filled with those who reflect its name.

Over 100 people gathered Monday in Grass Valley’s Veterans Memorial Building to recognize and appreciate the men and women who have served the United States overseas and abroad.

U.S. Coast Guard veteran Claude Hessel, commander of American Legion Frank Gallino Post 130, spoke about how Veterans Day began. Originally known as Armistice Day to reflect on those who served in World War I, there was a later push to honor all veterans. In 1954 it became a national holiday.

“It’s been known as Veterans Day ever since,” said Hessel.

Hessel said Americans should remember how they got their freedom, and consider those living in Nevada County who helped shore up that privilege.

Stan Zabka, a 95-year-old World War II veteran, spoke about his experiences both within and outside the U.S. military.

While serving overseas, Zabka stumbled upon a copy of the Gettysburg Address. Monday, he recited the text from memory.

“‘That these honored dead shall not die in vain,’” he said, quoting President Abraham Lincoln.

At his conclusion, the audience gave a standing ovation.

Prior to Zabka’s speech, the Grass Valley Male Voice Choir sang “Battle Hymn of the Republic” and “In Flanders Fields.”

Choir director Eleanor Kenitzer said the group isn’t exclusively veterans, but includes a small number of them.

“We love to be invited here,” she said, noting that her father was in the Navy, her son the Air Force. She hoped Americans reflected on Monday, recognizing their right to be free.

To contact Staff Writer Sam Corey, email scorey@theunion.com or call 530-477-4219.


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