CHAPTER NEWS & ARTICLES
VETERANS DAY 2014
Our veteran community had several events on Veterans Day. The day began with an early morning ceremony in Petaluma dedicating a memorial to the combat-wounded soldiers of the Alpha Co. 579th En. and the 235th En. Co. Sappers. These National Guard units, based in Petaluma, have 72 Purple Heart recipients including three who made the ultimate sacrifice: 1st. Lt. Andre D. Tyson, Sgt. Patrick R. McCaffrey, and Sfc. Michael C. Ottolini. The ceremony was the culmination of a lot of hard work by Paul Hoffman, a Purple Heart veteran who served with all three men; Nadia McCaffrey, mother of Patrick McCaffrey; and Joe Noriel of History Connection. The Petaluma National Guard, with headquarters on Vallejo Street, is the most decorated National Guard unit in California.
The flag raising ceremony at Santa Rosa’s City Hall Veterans Memorial was well attended this year. Veterans groups, community leaders, and the general public have gathered for this event for the past 18 years. VVA Chapter 223’s Color Guard, led by Dave Philips (a former drill sergeant), raised the colors and veterans and community leaders spoke. The event displays the true essence of Veterans Day.
Petaluma’s Veterans Day Parade, the largest in northern California, was all that we expected. We saw high school marching bands, mounted color guards, and motor vehicles of all kinds--on the ground and in the air. This year there were lots of World War II military vehicles, including several halftracks and a Korean War era M26 Pershing tank. There were flyovers by a Huey chopper and vintage WWII aircraft. Veterans groups were well represented, Chapter 223 members walked or rode in the parade, and the POW/MIA exhibit was displayed on a trailer.
Our North Bay communities have always been veteran friendly and that’s displayed with pride on Veterans Day. The sacrifices of Northern California veterans in the past and today are second to none. This tradition continues today with our young men and women, including the soldiers of the local National Guard unit in Petaluma, serving their country wherever duty calls.
City of Sonoma Proclaimed a Purple Heart City
The Sonoma City Council meeting of September 15th was highlighted by Mayor Tom Rouse’s reading of a proclamation making Sonoma a Purple Heart City.
The Mayor presented the proclamation to members of Purple Heart Chapter 78. The Chapter has been a leader in efforts to honor all those who have sacrificed for their country, especially those killed or wounded in combat. Chapter 78 Junior Vice Commander Paul Hoffman, a Sonoma resident, accepted the proclamation on behalf of the Chapter and talked of the history of the Military Order of the Purple Heart and its mission today.
Other Chapter members attending the council meeting were Bob Evans, Charles Earthman, and John Logan. American Legion Jack London Post #489 was represented by Commander Terrence Leen and Gene Campagna. Post #489 and Chapter #78 have purchased 4 Purple Heart City signs that will be placed around Sonoma proudly proclaiming its status.
California became the Nation’s first Purple Heart State on April 12, 2012. The City of Sonoma joins Healdsburg, Santa Rosa, Petaluma, and Rohnert Park as Purple Heart Cities in Sonoma County, a Purple Heart County. Today, more than 50 cities and counties in California have Purple Heart resolutions. Chapter 78 continues to sign up cities in Sonoma County and citizens are responding positively to these efforts.
Chapter 78’s membership covers a large geographic area along the California coast from the Golden Gate to the Oregon border. The Chapter meets in Santa Rosa and has a small active core that is involved in many veteran activities throughout northern California. They are spearheading the move for cities, counties, roads, trails, and other landmarks to become Purple Heart designations in California. John Logan and Larry Williams are at the forefront of these efforts and are supported by Chapter members and local Purple Heart veterans.
Petaluma Purple Heart Sign Ceremony
The City of Petaluma honored Purple Heart veterans in a pre-Memorial Day ceremony on May 23 at Walnut Park. Joe Noriel of HistoryConnection.net, Mayor David Glass, other city officials, and a representative from Assemblyman Marc Levine’s office gathered with veterans of all the American conflicts dating back to WWII. The Military Order of the Purple Heart Chapter 78 was presented a Certificate of Recognition from the California State Assembly for its efforts in establishing Petaluma as a Purple Heart City. MOPH was also acknowledged for the work they have done in getting Rohnert Park, Healdsburg, Windsor, and Santa Rosa to proclaim themselves as Purple Heart Cities and Sonoma County a Purple Heart County.
“Taps” and “Too the Colors” were played by bugler Bill Vann, a Petaluma native and Vietnam veteran, and an acappella group from Petaluma High School sang the national anthem.
Joe Noriel emceed the ceremony and said, “We live in freedom because of your efforts, and it will not be forgotten.” Joe has always been a friend to the veteran community and has worked hard to enlighten the public to the history of our men and women in uniform. Mayor David Glass read the Purple Heart Proclamation and the City was presented a Purple Heart flag to be flown over City Hall. Senior Vice Commander Larry Williams presented the flag on behalf of Chapter 78.
Paul Lewis, a Petaluma native and Korean War veteran, shared memories of the three men from Petaluma who were killed in action in the Korean War; all three were Petaluma High School graduates. Lewis is part of an effort to build a Korean War memorial in Walnut Park to immortalize the three Petaluma men and all those who fell in that war.
At the conclusion of the ceremony a group photo was taken of the nearly 40 veterans who served in World War II, the Korean War, Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan.
It was a beautiful occasion and a tribute to all veterans and the people of Petaluma, what a great town.
MOPH CHAPTER 78
WORKING TO EXPAND PURPLE HEART CITIES
The Military Order of the Purple Heart is unique among Veteran Service Organizations in that all its members were wounded in combat. For this sacrifice, they are awarded the Purple Heart Medal.
Like wisteria and African violets in the spring, Purple Heart cities are popping up in Sonoma County, and MOPH Chapter 78 is a driving force behind it. The recognition of combat-wounded veterans by Sonoma County cities is a source of pride for our community and shows the support and respect the people of these communities have for these veterans wounded in defense of freedom.
California was the nation’s first Purple Heart State. On April 12, 2012, following the lead of 10 of its cities and 2 counties, the California legislature passed a Concurrent Resolution establishing California as the first Purple Heart State in the nation. Today nearly 50 cities and counties in California have Purple Heart resolutions. Chapter 78 has continued to sign up cities in Sonoma County and the people have responded positively to these efforts.
Chapter 78 has a membership that covers a large geographic area along the California coast from the Golden Gate to the Oregon border. The Chapter meets in Santa Rosa and has a small active core that is involved in many veteran activities throughout northern California. They are spearheading the move for cities, counties, roads, trails, and other landmarks to become Purple Heart designations in California. Chapter leaders John Logan and Larry Williams have been at the forefront of these efforts, supported by their chapter members and local Purple Heart veterans.
The Chapter is involved in many other charities in northern California and provides assistance at the San Francisco VA Medical Center. The actions by the members of Chapter 78 are a shining example of the things our veteran community does to ensure that those who served are not forgotten and helps highlight the community’s love and respect for those veterans.