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Photos: Veterans honored during celebration in San Jose

San Jose Mercury News - 11/5/2023

Hundreds turned out to honor veterans at the third annual Veterans Day Celebration sponsored by the County of Santa Clara Veterans Services Office. Veterans from many different eras attended, including World War II, The Korean War, The Vietnam War and Desert Storm.

One veteran in attendance was Frank S. Wright, 98, a former World War II Marine from Lodi. He entered the service in 1942 at the age of 16 after lying about his age and stayed in the service for four years.

After the ceremony, many veterans and their family mingled and gravitated toward Wright, including younger service members like Marine veterans Christopher Estrada and Justin Conrad. Navy veteran Ebert Ortega stayed after the ceremony to shake hands with Wright. Wright wrote a brook about his experiences in WWII called “Battles in the Pacific: World War II: My Personal War Causing PTSD.”

Speakers included Steve Fondacaro, director of the Santa Clara County Veterans Services Office, and Santa Clara County Supervisor Otto Lee, with the program led by Darlyn Escalante, program manager with the office. Lee is a Navy veteran who served during the Gulf War and remained in the Navy Reserves for two decades, according to his website.

The ceremony, held in the pavilion at the Mexican Heritage Plaza, included a “Presentation of the Colors” by VFW Post 3609 from Gilroy and a POW/MIA ceremony led by Escalante.

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