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Operation Canteen Honored WWII Veterans of Arcadia

Operation Canteen volunteers adhere to quarantine protocols while honoring WWII vets in Arcadia. – Photo courtesy of Operation Canteen

Volunteers urge the public to honor WWII veterans for the 75th anniversary of the wars end

By Grace Yee, Guest Contributor

On Aug. 15, the morning started with volunteers taping “Thank you” posters and singers practicing WWII songs. Team leaders gathered their groups to go over the route of the WWII veterans that they would be visiting.

It was called Operation Canteen, a volunteer-driven program designed to pay respect to veterans for the 75th anniversary of the ending of WWII. While COVID-19 has altered the lives and celebrations of many veterans, this group of volunteers visited several WWII veterans of San Gabriel Valley. 

In a caravan of cars, volunteers, adhering to all social distancing guidelines, honored WWII veterans with signs on their lawns and people cheering from the edge of their driveway, saying “Thank you for your service!” Songs from the era were sung such as “It’s Been A Long, Long Time,” and “I’ve Heard that Song Before” which brought tears of joy to the veterans as they sang along. The veterans’ families were all there with them to honor them for their service for this big 75th anniversary of WWII being over. These brave men and women fought for freedom, saved lives and were instrumental in freeing millions of people in Europe and the Pacific.

Local Arcadian and WWII veteran Sam Gallina said “I cannot thank you enough for doing what you are doing. It’s something that I never… it was the furthest thing from my mind.”  Another local veteran, Rob Gutierrez, said “This makes everything we did worth it.”

WWII veteran and Arcadian Sam Gallina being honored by volunteers. – Photo courtesy of Operation Canteen

Our dream was to honor the veterans for the 75th anniversary of VJ Day. We hope that this encourages you to take action, even in the smallest way, in your own community. You can drive by with signs, leave signs on their lawns, say thank you from a distance, mail a thank you card, or even a phone call. These amazing WWII heroes don’t expect it, but they deserve it!

This is a great time to show that we remember them. It’s not too late! The official signing of the treaty marking the end of WWII happened on Sept. 2, 1945. Celebrate your heroes anytime from now until the end of September. These deserving heroes would be thrilled!

If you participate in #OperationCanteen, we want to hear from you! Please contact Grace at operationcanteen@gmail.com. 

Please tag your posts with #OperationCanteen #75thVJDay. Instagram and Facebook, please tag @operationcanteen.

Let’s give the greatest gift we can give to the greatest generation of our time!

September 3, 2020

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