Gradually the applause began. But at this instant it wasn't for the speaker's words. It was for the tears of honor and respect for our veterans that the man struggled in vain to control his emotions.

"This happens sometimes," Bob Chandler, a speaker at last Saturday's Veterans' Day ceremony at Hesperia Lake Park, said as he wiped away the tears with a handkerchief. "It'll pass in a minute."

Earlier, Chandler, a member of the Hesperia Recreation and Park District's board of trustees, had asked the veterans in attendance to stand. Looking into their eyes, Chandler thanked them for serving in the U.S. military branches - the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps and Coast Guard.

A retired fire captain, Chandler told of a recent trip to Lake Arrowhead, one of the areas hit by recent fires. There, he noticed that many hand-made signs by residents extolled the hard work and bravery of firefighters.

While he believes fire fighters certainly deserve the accolades, Chandler said he is saddened a similar demonstration of support isn't as common for those U.S. service men and women serving in Iraq and Afghanistan.

"You don't see those comments very often when it comes to our military people," Chandler said, his voice beginning to shake. "You don't see that kind of love and respect. I think that's wrong."

Next, Chandler asked all non-veterans to stand.

"Your assignment is to not forget these warriors," Chandler said. "Teach your children and grandchildren the importance of paying tribute to those who defend our country."