More than 200 local residents braved uncertain weather Friday morning to gather at the war memorial at Hesperia Lake Park and honor America's veterans.


"To take a few moments out to honor our veterans is a great thing, and it's great that this community is willing to do it," San Bernardino County 1st District Supervisor Brad Mitzelfelt told those assembled. Mitzelfelt, a Marine Corps veteran, served in Kuwait during Operation Desert Storm. "Today's a day we don't take (freedom) for granted."


The annual Veterans Day ceremony was jointly sponsored by the Hesperia Recreation and Park District and AMVETS Post 2007 and included singers and a JROTC color guard from Sultana High School.


San Bernardino County is home to 71,000 veterans, Mitzelfelt said.


"That's more than a fifth of our population."


Veterans Day this year fell on the 92nd anniversary of Armistice Day, the official end of hostilities on the Western Front during World War I. In an era when instantaneous communication to all parties was impossible, the armistice between the Allies and Germany was set to take effect at 11:11 a.m. on Nov. 11. In 1954, Armistice Day's name was changed to Veterans Day in America, to recognize the contributions of veterans of any war.


"(My father) always told me it takes a lot more than rope to keep that flag up that pole," Todd Anton, an author and history teacher at Heritage School in Phelan, told those assembled.


The ceremony was enough to stop the dedicated fishermen at Hesperia Lake in their tracks, causing them to rise to their feet and salute as retired Marine corporal Damon W. Machado played "Taps" on the bugle at its conclusion.


"God bless Hesperia and God bless America," Mitzelfelt said.


Beau Yarbrough may be reached at (760) 956-7108 or at beau@HesperiaStar.com. Follow us on Facebook at Facebook.com/Hesperia.Star.