By Chief Yeoman Ryan Arnoldussen
Navy Operational Support Center, Ventura County
VENTURA, Calif. - Sailors from Navy Operational Support Center (NOSC) Ventura County celebrated the life and history of World War II, Korean and Vietnam veterans during a Spirit of '45 event Aug. 14 held at Veterans Home of Ventura, an assisted living and hospice care home.
Spirit of '45 commemorates the end of World War II, 67 years ago and recognizes the generation of servicemen and women who served during World War II. They are the nation's oldest group of veterans.
NOSC Ventura County provided the Color Guard to open the event. The national anthem and Pledge of Allegiance were led by a Ventura chapter of Girl Scouts, followed by speaker Capt. Ronald Oswald, commanding officer, NOSC Ventura County.
Oswald is a third generation military man and both of his grandfathers served during World War II.
Following a remembrance for fellow Americans who were prisoners of war and those missing in action, sailors spoke directly with each veteran about their service and experiences.
“I was honored to stand up in front of these fine American war heroes and tell them my story,” said Aviation Ordnanceman 2nd Class Jose Serrano, NOSC Ventura County. “It was so influential to hear the stories and past lives of our veterans who once served and paved the way for the freedom of Americans.”
Attending the Spirit of ‘45 event for the first time, Serrano remembers the impact of meeting veterans and how it changed his life not only personally but also professionally.
“There is a very unique bond between those who have taken the oath of military service, regardless of their generation or age,” said Oswald. “You instantly see this bond when an 80-year-old veteran begins talking with a 20-year-old active duty sailor.”
Oswald believes the stories and memories shared by our veterans are often more fully appreciated and understood by those who are currently serving.
"It was a great honor to be in the presence of all those veterans,” said Information Systems Technician 2nd Class Amber Glessner, NOSC Ventura County. “We have the freedoms we enjoy today because of the sacrifices they, and service members like them, made during these conflicts. The stories were absolutely amazing and something that I will never forget.”
The Veterans Home of Ventura partnered with VITAS Innovative Hospice Care to arrange the visit. VITAS is the nation’s largest provider of end-of-life care.
Lyndsey Hale, the veterans’ community liaison for VITAS Innovative Hospice Care said VITAS is committed to honoring those who have served America by tending to their unique needs at the end of life.
For more information on the Spirit of '45 movement, visit www.spiritof45.org.