While we were in California Katie and I were able to participate in a Flag Ceremony at the Circle in Old Town Orange. Every Wednesday at 6:00 P.M. people gather to watch the flags being lowered and folding of the Flag. Many retired military from different branches were represented.
Before they lowered the flag and folded it properly Mark Wayland acknowledged 5 veterans in the audience that had served in World War II. One of the veterans was celebrating his 90th birthday and his family brought cupcakes for everyone at the ceremony. We got to sing Happy Birthday to him.
Mark also acknowledged a young bride in the audience who’s Marine husband is serving in Afghanistan right now…our Katie. He made her cry but the tears were good tears and then when the big burly Vietnam Vets came over to give her a hug with tears in their eyes we knew they understood and we cried some more. It was great to hear these Harley riders tell her they would be praying for her and Andrew.
Dear’s brother Terry and wife Christina with one of their 3 daughters with Katie and me. Christina got to know Mark while working with the Orange County School Board. She invited Katie and me to attend this ceremony.
This vet with Mark served in WWII, Korea, and the Vietnam War. He comes to the ceremony every week. It was great to meet him.
I got the following information from an Orange County Register article written by David Whiting although my sister-in-law who knows Mark from working with him at the Orange County School board also filled me in about this giving Purple Heart retired Marine.
“Mark Wayland, Marine Vietnam vet, retired firefighter and Orange school board member, looks like a biker with his denim vest and bushy mustache. And he is. So are many of the men in the Circle.
Most are members of the Patriot Guard Riders. In particular, they ride to remember fallen military brothers and sisters and to ensure things go smoothly at military funerals.
With his black Harley Electra Glide decorated with Marine logos parked just 50 yards away, Wayland explains tonight’s mission.
Every Wednesday night, Wayland, his buddies, their wives, friends and supporters gather in the Orange Circle. They come to lower the flag at 6 p.m. and honor, as Wayland puts it, “those who are in harm’s way.”
What an honor to be able to meet these folks and to honor them and others who have sacrificed so much for all of us. Thank you Mark for all you do and may your sacrifices return to you tenfold.
ht: Orange County Register, David Whiting.