OAKHURST – Sierra Tel has announced its Keynote Speaker for the 2014 Patriot Day Remembrance event, and now invites the public to attend ceremonies at a new location on Thursday, Sept. 11, 2014.
This year, Patriot Day will be held at Oakhurst Community Park. Ceremonies begin at 9 a.m., and Keynote Speaker is World War II Veteran Bill Bastian, 92.
“We have moved this event from Sierra Tel Headquarters to the Oakhurst Community Park to make it truly a community wide event and to encourage additional participation,” said Rima Runtzel, event coordinator.
The event is intended to recognize and show appreciation to all Veterans, Active Duty Military and Emergency Services Personnel for their dedication to our country and communities, as well as to honor the memory of those who lost their lives on Sept. 11, 2001.
Included in the event will be a special flag-raising ceremony and pledge of allegiance, patriotic music performances, 21 rifle salute and Taps. Veterans, Active Duty Military and Emergency Services Personnel will be presented with recognition gifts.
Keynote Speaker for 2014 is World War II Veteran Bill Bastian, 92, who studied engineering at the University of California at Berkeley before joining the U.S. Army in the spring of 1942. At the time, he was 20 years old and newly married.
Bastian served with the same Combat Engineer Battalion until the end of the war, as a Company Commander, Assistant Operations Officer, Battalion Motor Officer and Battalion Liaison Officer.
After six months in England, Bill landed on Omaha Beach the afternoon of D-Day, June 6, 1944. Bill’s next stop was Belgium for Christmas in front of the Bulge.
He then flew back to the United States for reassignment, and arrived in San Francisco on the day the bomb was dropped on Japan. This event resulted in his two week leave being extended to transfer him from active duty to active reserve in 1945.
Bill returned to Normandy as color commentator for a “Normandy Revisited Tour” in the 1990s, and has appeared on Ray Appleton’s and Paul Loeffler’s radio shows to share his wartime stories.
The events of 9-11 were far different than his WWII experiences.
“In Normandy, my only news was a crystal set and earphones playing BBC news. I happened to be watching live TV and saw the second plane strike the World Trade Tower on 9-11, and here I was watching this almost unreal event happen in real time,” Bill shared.
Immediately following the Patriot Day remembrance, the Sierra Tel Safety Awareness Committee will serve all-American apple pie and ice cream.
Each year following the events of September 11, 2001, Sierra Tel has made a visible statement of patriotism by affixing flags to each of its company vehicles. The flags are flown from Patriot Day through Veteran’s Day.
For More Information contact Rima Runtzel at 642-0313 or via email.
To see more photographs on SNO from Sierra Tel’s Patriot Day event in 2013, click this link.