You don’t have to live in a Sunshine Retirement Living community near a military town to celebrate Memorial Day. But when you do, you wear your colors proudly.
Waterford Terrace Retirement Community serves La Mesa, California, a suburb of San Diego, which of course, is known for its Naval and Marine Corps training centers. Not surprisingly, Waterford Terrace is home to no less than 20 veterans who served in WWII, Korea and Vietnam – some in multiple wars and many in peacetime, as well.
Waterford Terrace honors these brave men and women with a Veteran’s Wall that displays pictures of its residents, as well as photos of them in active duty, set against a backdrop of the American flag. These walls full of photos and mementos can be found at senior living properties managed by Sunshine Retirement Living across eight states.
“To be recognized for service to their country means a lot to our residents” says Ken Rorabaugh, Executive Director of Waterford Terrace. “It gives them a great sense of pride to know that we value our freedom and those who fought and died in securing it.”
Each year, the community expresses its appreciation by hosting a Memorial Day BBQ for all residents and their family members, where they read off the names of each veteran and give them a flag pin. The chef cooks up hamburgers, ribs, chicken, hot dogs and other traditional American favorites to large crowds.
A highlight of the day is when current active-duty military come for the celebration. They enjoy bonding with Waterford’s veteran residents and sharing stories about their military experience. Rorabaugh provides them with tokens of appreciation, as well.
“Everybody loves a party,” he says. “And being in a military town, all of our residents make an effort to participate and show respect. Many of them wear red in support of the troops.”
Inevitably, the day can get pretty emotional.
“We always have a moment of silence for fallen soldiers, family members and friends,” says Rorabaugh. “And we turn over a chair at the table for the unknown soldier.”
From the unknown soldiers to the loved ones who have fought and given their lives for our country, we hope you’ll join us this Memorial Day at a Sunshine property near you in remembering and honoring.