Mayor’s Message: Recognizing our veterans, active military personnel

Mayor Mike Munzing talks about the City’s annual Veterans Appreciation Dinner in his latest message, which follows:

It was Ronald Reagan who once said: “Some people wonder all their lives if they’ve made a difference. The Marines don’t have that problem.”

Indeed, resident Craig Martin knows this to be true.

He was part of the military operation that rescued ex-prisoner of war Jessica Lynch who was captured in March 2003 when Iraqi insurgents ambushed her Army supply convoy.  The then-19-year-old soldier’s legs were crushed and her back was broken before she was taken to an Iraqi hospital as a prisoner. Eleven other soldiers, including Lynch’s best friend, were killed in the attack.

“A lot of enemy died that night … along with a part of my soul,” Craig said. “We were only a few hundred combat Marines attacking a city with 300,000 people and an enemy strong hold. Our intel was next to zero but we all knew what our mission was … to save a young girl’s life.”

Nine days after her capture, Jessica Lynch was rescued on April 1, 2003, and the mission was broadcast around the world. Craig was honorably discharged for medical reasons. A former scout sniper, demolition expert and platoon sergeant, Craig spent 12 years serving his country. Like many other Marines, he made deep sacrifices along with way. He was blown up twice and shot in the chest – and even though he no longer wears the uniform, he is still a Marine.

It is people like Craig who serve in the Marines and every single branch of our military that inspire me every day. It’s also the reason our City recognizes veterans and active military personnel annually with a special dinner. This year’s event is at 6:00 p.m. on Thursday, November 10th at the Aliso Viejo Center. The program started several years ago as a way for our City to pay homage to the men and women who protect our freedoms every day. I love this annual event because I get to hear incredible stories and meet people who undoubtedly deserve our thanks and deepest respect.

Right now, our City is seeking veterans and active military personnel who live and work in town to join us on November 10th. If you have served or are serving our country, please contact Community Service Supervisor Gracie Duran at 949-425-2519 or  gduran@cityofalisoviejo.com to be included in this special event. I look forward to seeing you there.

Posted in 2016, eNews, News.