With a message of “Remember, Honor, Teach,” Wreaths Across America paid tribute to Tehachapi’s veterans Saturday morning by laying wreaths on their gravestones at the Westside and Eastside cemeteries.
More than 720 wreaths were placed on veterans’ headstones by fellow veterans, volunteers and dozens of members of the organization hosting Saturday’s event, 5150 Dieselz.
Robert Peralta, president of 5150 Dieselz, a Kern County-based group of diesel truck enthusiasts, and the co-organizer, his wife, Debi, began the ceremony with brief opening remarks that thanked the veterans and volunteers in attendance.
After the Pledge of Allegiance, opening prayer remarks and an expression of gratitude for the many local veterans organizations and volunteers who helped make Saturday possible, Christine Yandek sang a stirring version of the national anthem.
Guest speaker Jeanie Settelmyer, president and co-founder of Four Seasons Blue Star Mothers of Greater Tehachapi, whose child is an active-duty Marine, spoke about how the day was an opportunity to reflect on what veterans have done for the country, as well as an opportunity to show gratitude.
“Today, as you place wreaths, say the veteran’s name out loud — they deserve to have you present in the moment,” Settelmyer said. “Don’t rush, they have all day. It’s the least we can do for them. Our presence honors their service and their memory.”