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Veterans Day celebrations kick off along the Coast

Faces of Freedom.JPG
Posted at 11:03 AM, Nov 11, 2022
and last updated 2022-11-11 14:03:20-05

Many events and ceremonies for Veterans Day are taking place across the Central Coast Friday.

At 11 a.m., the Atascadero Veterans Memorial Foundation will start the Veterans Day Ceremony at the Faces of Freedom Memorial.

The guest speaker is Chief Warrant Officer 2 Rodney Dykhouse from the United States Army, who was a helicopter pilot in the Vietnam war.

“You're flying a very complex machine. Oftentimes people are shooting at you. You're talking to a crew chief, a door gunner. You get three radios and during all this going on, you still have to fly and make sure you don't hit a tree or something, so it's and it's incredibly intense," Dykhouse said.

Officer Dykhouse said families welcome a different person when veterans come home.

“They're not a broken person. They're not a lesser person, but they're a much more wiser, experienced person because they have seen what the human race is capable of in a war. Well, if the good and the bad,” he explained.

For Friday's event, ceremony coordinator Cheryl Hertan says they expect anywhere from 300 to 1,000 people.

There will be a wreath laying ceremony, flyover, and local performances.

“I just think it's so important to have veterans honored and recognized for their service, particularly those who haven't always been treated really well when they've come back,” said Hertan.

“I think the especially Vietnam veterans, because we were not acknowledged for 20 or 25 years, in fact, a lot of us were disrespected and just for the public to say thank you, it means an awful lot,” Officer Dykhouse added.