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Yucaipa Valley’s fallen remembered on Memorial Day

Monday, May 31st, 2010

About 300 attended the Memorial Day Service at Desert Lawn Memorial Park in Calimesa.
Photos By BOB OTTO

“I feel fortunate to be alive while others have died,” – Ray Duncan, Marine Corps veteran

CALIMESA, CA – Some chose to spend Memorial Day barbequing in the back yard. Some spent the day at the beach. And some spent the day lounging in front of the television watching a baseball game.

But about 300 grateful and patriotic Calimesa and Yucaipa residents chose instead to spend about an hour at Desert Lawn Memorial Park for a Memorial Day Service to honor America’s veterans who died on the battlefield to safeguard our country’s freedoms.

Ray Duncan, 70, spent 10 years in the Marine Corps. He served in Korea and he served a tour of duty in Vietnam. He says he’s one of the lucky ones, who returned home to live the good life in Yucaipa.

“I feel fortunate to be alive while others have died,” Duncan said. And it irritates Duncan that despite the ultimate sacrifice American service men and women have made to protect America’s freedoms, there was just a modest turnout for the memorial service.

“It makes me mad at those that don’t appreciate what some gave for our country,” he said.

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A true hero

Wednesday, October 14th, 2009

The word, “hero” is bandied about often. Unfortunately, far to often in the world of sports. Michael Jordan hits a game-winning jump shot to win the NBA championship, and he’s glorified and elevated to Superman status.

The Pittsburgh Steelers win the 2009 Super Bowl, and the city embraces their conquering heroes with a gaudy parade where delirious, screaming fans revere their warrior-heroes for the splendid feat they’ve accomplished.

But let me tell you about a real hero: Irena Sendler.

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Let’s honor Shifty, a true American Hero

Friday, September 25th, 2009

“I want a nationwide memorial service for Darrell “Shifty” Powers.”
By Chuck Yeager, MajGen. (Ret.)

Shifty volunteered for the airborne in World War II and served with Easy Company of the 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment, of the 101st Airborne Infantry. If you’ve seen Band of Brothers on HBO or the History Channel, you know Shifty. His character appears in all 10 episodes, and Shifty himself is interviewed in several of them.

I met Shifty in the Philadelphia airport several years ago. I didn’t know who he was at the time. I just saw an elderly gentleman having trouble reading his ticket.

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