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Photo by Beau Yarbrough
The Hesperia City Council looks toward the American flag as Sultana High School student Alyx Yankaskas sings the national anthem.
Hesperia Civic ParkJuniper Street and 8th Avenue, Hesperia 92345

Thousands celebrate Hesperia's 20th birthday

Hesperia veterans, military personnel honored at ceremony

Staff Writer

Thousands of Hesperians descended on the city's newest park Saturday to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the city's incorporation.

"Happy birthday, Hesperia! It's a great day," Supervisor Brad Mitzelfelt told the assembled crowd. "I congratulate you on taking the government of Hesperia into your own hands. You did the right thing."

Residents queued up for food -- including competition barbecue -- games, music and to participate in a ceremony honoring the city's military personnel and veterans.

"We're here today to celebrate Hesperia's birthday, but also those who gave the ultimate sacrifice serving this country," said Councilwoman Rita Vogler. "Our heartfelt gratitude, our heartfelt pride, forever and ever."

"We are able to stand here today because of them," said Mayor Mike Leonard.

"Today's event was a dream of mine, and I'm excited to see such a great turnout," said Councilman Thurston "Smitty" Smith, before reading off more than 170 names of Hesperians who have served or are currently serving in the armed forces.

The city also presented plaques to the families of three Hesperians killed in Iraq and Afghanistan.

"When you see someone in uniform, please shake their hand and thank them for their service to our country," Leonard said.

The event took place at the city's new $4 million Hesperia Civic Park, located behind city hall and the library.

"This is a park that will cause us to come together as a community forever and ever," said Congressman Jerry Lewis. Lewis presented the city with an American flag that had been flown over the Capitol.

Although the ever-present High Desert wind made itself known, the day was sunny and bright, staying out of the triple-digit temperatures that had dogged the city just a week before.

Beau Yarbrough can be reached at 956-7108 or at beau@hesperiastar.com.


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