More than 1,500 people attended the dedication of the Wall of Honor at the Veterans Hospital in Fresno on Nov. 3 including 20 cadets from the Yosemite High School Cadet Corps, as well as a group of history students, under the direction of Captain Ellen Peterson and Colonel Bruce Derry.
Over a year ago, the VA started a face lift on the front of the hospital, incorporating a wall where the names of servicemen from all branches are engraved. Families and friends purchased a space, and their loved one is memorialized with name, dates of service and other pertinent information. When all the spaces are filled, more than 1,000 servicemen and women will be honored. Names from the Civil War to the war in Iraq and Afghanistan have all been included.
YHS Cadets helped welcome the attendees. They assisted the non-ambulatory vets by serving them refreshments and passing out programs. They also handed out pencils and paper, so that their friends and family could make etchings from the wall, and helped clean up after the event.
"One of the cadets made a comment about how it brought tears to her eyes when the vets so humbly thanked her for her assistance," Peterson said.
At the end of the ceremony, the Wall of Honor was unveiled. At the same moment, the YHS cadets released two dozen white doves.
"The entire program, the music, the speakers -- everything was done for pure love for the vets," Derry said. "You could tell it took a monumental effort, and Captain Peterson and I are proud our cadets and history students were a part of it."