The American Legion Post 293, veterans, Cloverdale Police officers and Sonoma County Supervisor James Gore gathered outside the Cloverdale Veteran’s Memorial Building on Wednesday morning to honor and recognize those who have served in the armed forces and those who are still on active duty.
The Nov. 11 Veterans Day event was a standalone celebration this year since organizations in Healdsburg and Windsor opted to forgo a ceremony due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Cloverdale celebration focused on honoring local World War II veterans as well as other local veterans.
Supervisor Gore presented special resolutions from the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors to Cloverdale’s World War II veterans — Frank Rose, Harold Meyers, Leonard Mittelstadt and Harold Peters.
Both Rose and Meyers were present at the ceremony to receive their recognition as well as a friendly elbow bump from Gore.
“From the board of supervisors, resolution by the board recognizing the accomplishments of these individuals, first Frank. Whereas Frank Rose served in the U.S. Navy reserves between 1944 and 1947 and whereas he served overseas in the Pacific feed of World War II and whereas Frank Rose is also a longtime Cloverdale resident of close to 80 years,” Gore read from the resolution.
After the war, Rose began building homes in Cloverdale and raised his family.
Meyers served in the United States Navy from 1941 to 1946 and rose to the rank of second class signalman. He served in the Hawaiian islands as well as in the South Pacific and served on the U.S.S. Bracken, a Gilliam-class attack transport ship.
After the war he moved to Cloverdale and worked in the lumber industry and is now enjoying retirement as well as fishing along the Russian River.
Peters was also honored for his service, but was not able to attend the ceremony. He is 101-years-old.
Peters was in the U.S. Army between 1941 and 1945 and rose to the rank of staff sergeant in the 91st Infantry Division, 361st Regiment Company B. He earned a Combat Infantry Badge, a victory in Europe pin, a Bronze Star for heroism and a Silver Star.
After the war Peters moved back to Cloverdale, started a family and established the Peters Ranch where he grew prunes.
Mittelstadt was posthumously honored with the county resolution. He died this past May.
Mittelstadt served in the U.S. Army from 1943 to 1945 in the 194th Glider Infantry Regiment 17th Airborne Division Company E where he fought in the Battle of the Bulge and Operation Varsity. He earned a Purple Heart and several other distinguished awards and later moved to Cloverdale where he bought and took over his parents’ lumber company, which he ran for 40 years prior to his retirement.
“I’m a believer in service. I look around and I see our police officers, I see city councilmembers. I was a Peace Corps volunteer, I wasn’t in the service, but I look at all the other things that I and others do in service and I look at you all and I think about the ultimate service,” Gore said of the armed forces.
“There is no level of thanks that we can provide for what you (veterans) have done for all of us.”
Ed Bowen, from The Church of the Latter-day Saints in Cloverdale, also shared some thoughts about the day.
“I was thinking about all of the women and men from Cloverdale that have gone into the service. Some made it a career and I thought about what it was like as a young guy when I left Cloverdale to go into the United States Air Force. I was 18 and I didn’t know what to expect and looking back on it now I see where I was lonely ... I was homesick and I think about the men and women now that leave here and they’ve felt a lot of the same things … but they do it and they do it for us and they do it for the United States,” Bowen said.
Bowen said he wants folks to know how much the church appreciates those who choose to serve in the armed forces.
In recognition of those who have served and those who still serve the church has a special display outside honoring and thanking folks for their service.
Before the conclusion of the festivities, American Legion members retired some of the “hometown hero” light post banners that depict local residents who are on active duty. Retiring the banners allows the legion to put up new banners that recognize those who are just now joining the military or armed forces.
The banners of Robert Jojola Jr., Daniel Black and Salvador Mendoza were retired.
The history behind Veteran’s Day
Veterans Day was originally known as Armistice Day in honor of World War I veterans. Although World War I did not officially end until June of 1919, all fighting stopped on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month in 1918.
Consequently, then President Woodrow Wilson proclaimed Nov. 11, 1919 as the first Armistice Day. Armistice Day became a legal holiday in May of 1938.
After World War II, Congress amended the Armistice Day Act in 1954 and changed the day to Veteran’s Day in order to honor those who have served in all wars.