Senior Center celebrates veterans with musical tribute

Carl Woerder, a veteran of both the U.S. Army and the Marine Corps, stands proudly as he sings along to the Marines’ Hymn at SCV Senior Center’s Veterans Celebration on Thursday. Ryan Painter/The Signal.

Decked out in red, white and blue, the SCV Senior Center honored its veterans with a celebration and sing-along on Friday afternoon.

Veterans and their loved ones were invited to stand when their branch of the military’s theme song was played to allow the attendees to honor their service.

“This is the time where we can highlight them,” Senior Center Director of Volunteers, Recreation and Education Robin Clough said.

Seniors were all given the lyrics to each of the branch’s songs then joined in for My Country, ‘Tis of Thee and America the Beautiful.

Bernie Katz salutes as the the U.S. Army’s fight song is played at the SCV Senior Center’s Veteran’s Day Celebration on Thursday, Nov. 11, 2017. Ryan Painter/The Signal.

Hosting the Veterans Day event also allowed the group to honor those veterans who have died and played a part in the Senior Center, Clough said.

“You feel the spirits of those who have passed,” Clough said. “You feel their presence.”

The Senior Center hosts veterans regularly. In fact, about 80 percent of the males who utilize the center are veterans, according to Clough.

Though he said he learned from his father not to discuss what happened during the war, Marine Corps and Army veteran Carl Woerder spent the celebration reflecting on the positive memories he had in the service.

“I enjoyed my time in the war,” Woerder said.

The event also provided the opportunity to honor the women who took part in the war effort and considered themselves “Rosie the Riveters.”

Ray Mitchell, left, and Rudy Pavini, both veterans of the U.S. Navy, sing along to “Anchors Away,” at the SCV Senior Center’s Veteran Celebration. Ryan Painter/The Signal.

Playing music is the best way Senior Center Performing Arts Coordinator John Swinford knew how to honor veterans’ sacrifices, he said.

“When you think of seniors, you think of a whole different time,” Swinford said. “You look back and see what it took to get here.”

Local Blyth Birchall recently began volunteering with the Senior Center because she wanted to honor her father.

A World War II veteran, Birchall said her father would have enjoyed the camaraderie of the center’s veteran community.

“He would have absolutely loved this,” Birchall said. “He was red, white and blue until the day he died.”

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