Veterans recall their service

Deirdre Newman

Seniors gathered Friday in advance of Memorial Day to share their

wartime experiences.

"A lot of these people will stay home the next three days, and I

wanted to have them share," said Costa Mesa Senior Center Director

Aviva Goelman.

About 30 people attended the gathering outside the center, but

only a few spoke.

One of them was Roger Ledin, 89, who served in the Navy in New

Caledonia during World War II.

For Ledin, Memorial Day is to honor the fact that "we won the war

and what we fought for."

Al Daugherty, 77, also served in World War II, spending a little

more than one year working at a cemetery as an electrician -- he

attended about 200 funeral ceremonies.

"To this day, I still have a problem with trumpets," he said.

He said he believes Memorial Day "means freedom for us all."

Councilman Mike Scheafer and Planning Commissioner Bruce Garlich,

who is a member of the center's Board of Directors, were also on


Scheafer said he was honored to be at the gathering because his

father, "Shorty," was in the Marines.

"Part of it is remembering my father ... and I have several

friends killed in Vietnam that I sort of remember," Scheafer said.

Scheafer was drafted but didn't serve in the military during the

Vietnam War because President Richard Nixon canceled the draft two

weeks before he was supposed to report for duty, he said.

"Now I wish I had the opportunity to serve," Scheafer said.

"That's why I feel so strongly about the young men and women who are

serving now."

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