Under the Roosevelt Tree in Big Pine, local veterans and supporters gathered for a special Veterans Day memorial service. After a decade or so of work, volunteers with the Big Pine Civic Club and the American Legion Glacier Post dedicated the now completed Inyo County Veterans Memorial.
A large crowd gathered under the three big flag poles where Highway 168 over Westguard meets 395. Cars lined the highway halfway to Zurich. Big Pine resident Earl Wilson explained to the crowd how volunteers first saved up enough money to buy one flag pole. The other two followed later. This latest addition is a curving memorial, built out of local stone. Etched into stainless steel sheets are drawings that line up with the local mountains, giving the viewer the elevations of the High Sierra peaks.
With volunteers who built the memorial with their own hands with only private donations, Wilson spoke of the spirit of volunteerism that flows in Big Pine. With this spirit in mind, he proclaimed his pride in being a Piner.
The solemn celebration was punctuated by the roar of two Navy jets that flew in from China Lake Naval Air Station. The jets made two passes over the ceremony, to the delight of the crowd.
On this Veterans Day, Wilson gave the crowd this quote from George Washington. The willingness with which young people are likely to serve in any war no matter how justified shall be directly proportional to how they perceive veterans of previous wars were treated and appreciated by our nation.
Taps on the bugle closed out the ceremony on this day to remember veterans of the Armed Services.