Memorial Day & VFW: Local treasures in our own backyard

A bugler bangs at a recent Memorial Day celebration in Star Park.

CORONADO – This year, Memorial Day services will be held on Monday, May 30 at 10 a.m. in Star Park. The public is invited to participate.

Commemorating Memorial Day has been a tradition in Coronado since the Great Depression. Organized annually by the Veterans of Foreign Wars (Coronado Post 2422), it has become a gathering place for soldiers and their families, young veterans and old warriors.

Locally, thousands of Coronado residents, whether directly or indirectly affected by tragedy or loss, have attended past Memorial Day services.

This sombre ceremony goes deep to the heart of our community. “That shouldn’t come as a surprise,” said Post Commander Chuck Lucas. “We live in Coronado in a veteran-led community. The VFW has become a huge part of Coronado’s history and tradition. In turn, the support we have received for our efforts has been phenomenal.”

In fact, VFW Post 2422 has been involved with numerous community events over the years, including Memorial Day, Avenue of the Heroes, and Take A Veteran to School Day.

Navy SEALS are one of many military representatives showing up for the Memorial Day event at Coronado’s Star Park.

They have sponsored sports teams, surfing competitions, and individual athletes in need. The Post also sponsors Concert in the Park steak dinners, Fourth of July events and Christmas parties. During the Great Depression, they began hosting Christmas and Thanksgiving dinners for our soldiers and wives who were separated from their families. This tradition continues to this day.

There is also a Memorial Wall at Post 2422 where families can honor their loved ones with bronze plaques. Local veterans such as General Styer, Admirals Martin, Stockdale and Edney and others are currently on the Memorial Wall. Duncan Hunter and Medal of Honor recipient John Finn are also represented on the Memorial Wall. In addition, there are numerous members of the UDT and SEAL teams who staff their own honors section.

In 1932, in the midst of the Great Depression, more than 100 members of the Coronado community signed a petition to have their own Veterans of Foreign Wars chapter, Coronado Post 2422. A month later, VFW Auxiliary was founded.

The Veterans of Foreign Wars was founded nationally in 1899. They were reorganized in 1913 as a series of mergers between previous veterans’ organizations serving the Spanish–American War and the Philippine Insurgency.

The honor guard stand at attention.

The purpose of VFW is to support the rehabilitation of this country’s disabled and needy veterans while promoting American pride through education, patriotism, and constructive service to local communities.

“We began meeting at Coronado First Baptist Church,” said Chuck Lucas. “It was a small group in 1932 with maybe 25 participants at that first meeting.”

These founding members included pilots based at Rockwell Field on the North Island (a former US Army Air Corps military base), sailors from the four-story destroyers, and even veterans from the Curtiss School of Aviation.

The only rule for membership was that you had to be in a fight situation or have seen a fight abroad. It was originally a male-only membership. In 1946 women were allowed to join the VFW.

Today, Post 2422 operates from its facility on Orange Avenue near the corner of Sixth Street on what were originally three properties transferred to VFW in 1952 by the family of General Henry D. Styer (then valued at approximately $12,000). Dollar). . The post still bears his name to this day and is home to both the VFW and the VFW Auxiliary.

At the time, the old WAVE barracks were on the back side of First Street next to San Diego Bay. WAVE stands for Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service in the US Naval Reserve.

This drone photo shows Memorial Day before Covid.

The Post Office was able to acquire one of these unfinished pine buildings and it was slowly moved to its current location at 557 Orange Avenue where it became and remains 2422 General Henry D. Styer VFW Post – truly one of the most historic buildings on the island.

Hundreds of events are held at the Orange Avenue facility throughout the year – weddings, retirement ceremonies, birthdays, fundraisers, parties, club functions, lunches, dinners and more. The building contains a kitchen, a canteen and a meeting room, as well as a large lawn in front of the building.

This year’s Memorial Day ceremonies are sponsored by the Silver Strand Chapter Military Officers Association of America, the Navy League of the United States (Coronado Council), the Marine Corps League (Coronado Detachment), and Coronado VFW Post 2422.

VFW Post 2422 is located at 557 Orange Avenue, Coronado. For more information, visit their website or call 619-435-6917.

Memorial Day ceremonies will be held at 10 am on Monday, May 30 in Star Park. The public is invited. Photo courtesy of VFW Post 2422.

Joe Ditler is a regular contributor to the Coronado Times. Through his advertising firm, Part-Time PR, he has served businesses throughout Coronado and San Diego for many years. For more information, contact him at [email protected] or 619-742-1034.

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