Dave Connell didn't have to think twice when he enlisted to serve in World War II at the age of 18.
"It was just the expected thing to do," said the 84-year-old Laguna Beach resident. "It was just like going to the movies."
A member of the American Legion Post 222 for the last 14 years, Connell says it's important to remember veterans on Friday's holiday.
"It's the one day that veterans are supposed to be recognized for the service they've done for the country," he said.
The post at 384 Legion St. is hosting a Veterans Day ceremony at 11 a.m. Friday. If it rains, the ceremony will be moved inside to the downstairs dining room.
The event includes a speech by Judge David O. Carter, a U.S. District Court judge and Vietnam War veteran.
Carter has been involved in many notable cases, most recently Barnett v. Obama, a dismissed lawsuit that claimed President Obama was not a natural-born American citizen.
Carter is also a resident of Laguna Beach and a member of the post.
Post member Bob Mosier, 87, served in the Pacific campaign of World War II.
He reminisced about being on the first aircraft to take troops to Tokyo after the atomic bombs were dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. He recalled sleeping under an airplane at Naha Airport on Okinawa when he was awoken by bullets hitting the water. When he turned on the radio, he said he found out the war was over.
Mosier's grandson, Major Grant Mizell, followed in his footsteps. Mosier said he couldn't be prouder.
"He's wonderful," he said. "I think he's doing substantial good work for the U.S."
Mosier added that he hopes Veterans Day reminds people what the Armed Forces have done to protect the country.
Diane Connell, Connell's wife and the president of the post's Auxiliary Unit, said she finds it important for the post to not only be a support system for veterans, but also for active-duty servicemen and women as well. The post also supports the community at large by donating to charities like the Orange County Ronald McDonald House in Orange.
The post's members host myriad events, fundraisers and social activities to give back to the military community. They send care packages to overseas servicemen and women, donate money for Thanksgiving and holiday dinners to those stationed at Camp Pendleton, and host "Welcome Home" events for returning service members. They also donate food coupons to service members overseas to purchase food at their base's commissary.
They also have monthly bingo games at the Veterans Administration Long Beach for veterans and those in active duty.
The post recently had an active duty Marine and his wife join the post.
"It excites us when we actually have one that's still serving," Diane Connell said.
Connell said he hopes veterans and the public take the time to recognize those who have fought to make the United States a safer place.
"As the saying goes, we all sacrifice some, but some sacrifice their all in trying to protect our country," he said.
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