During this Fourth of July remembrance week, it is important to acknowledge that our freedom often comes at a very high price. That price, of course, is the sacrifice of loved ones serving military missions far from their homes, and putting their lives on the line every day so those of us not in harm's way can share the 4th of July holiday with family and friends.
Recently in Costa Mesa at Vanguard University, a much more serious dedication in advance of the Fourth of of July celebration honored America's veterans with the creation of a "Courtyard of Honor." Adm. Vernon E. Clark, former chief of Naval Operations for the Navy, joined forces with Brent Theobald, Vanguard University's director of Veteran Affairs, in welcoming some 150 local veterans and their families at the unveiling of a permanent installation that Vanguard officials are labeling as "Value Pillars."
Each of the pillars in the Veterans Courtyard relates to a specific ideal of service. Inscribed on the pillars are quotations and verses from scripture dealing with the ideals of honor, gratitude, camaraderie, commitment, justice, truth and integrity.
Each of the pillars is dedicated to individuals who served the country and have sacrificed, leaving a legacy for family, friends and community. Among the recognized are Kenneth E. Gail, Clifford A. Taylor, Miriam E. Dotson, Paul Oddo, Jack E. Dotson, Leonard L. Wheeland, and Thomas W. Prince.
Vanguard University President Dr. Carol Taylor has a special connection to the courtyard inasmuch as the pillar for camaraderie is named in honor of her father, Clifford Taylor, who served in the U.S. Navy during World War II.
"This Courtyard of Honor stands as a beacon to say to our veterans, 'welcome home and thank you for your service,'" Taylor said. "You are not alone. We pray for your peace and for the day when wars will be no more."
Distinguished guests in the crowd included members of Vanguards Veterans Advisory Board: John VanSky, retired Capt. Roy Fussel, retired Col. Ron Nipper, David Sarmiento, chaplain of the Air National Guard, Jim Peugh, Navy Chaplain, Jess Lawson, commander of American Legion Post 291, and Trish Fisher.
Also present was Kelly Kannwischer, Vanguard's vice president, Fred and Ruth Waugh, Don Andrews, Jack Hammett, Edison Miller, Col. Stewart Navarre, and local television personality Ed Arnold and his wife Dixie.