Rancho Remembers returns to campus for its 15th year

RCHS+Eagle+Scouts+perform+the+presentation+of+colors+to+commence+Rancho+Remembers.

Photo by: Alex Dalida

RCHS Eagle Scouts perform the presentation of colors to commence Rancho Remembers.

World War Two. Korea. Vietnam. Iraq. Afghanistan. Active duty.

Air Force. Army. Coast Guard. Marine Corps. Navy. Veterans from every branch of the military and every modern conflict volunteered their time to attend Rancho Remembers and share their stories and experiences with students.

After a two-year hiatus due to COVID-19, Rancho Remembers, an annual event and Rancho tradition where RCHS welcomes veterans to campus to talk to students, was able to return at full capacity in the RCHS gym for its 15th year. Dozens of tables were lined up against the backdrop of a 40-foot American flag draped on the gym’s east wall.

“Rancho Remembers to me is a program to help veterans feel the importance of the hard work and dedication they had by serving their country and to show appreciation for their service,” said Marine Staff Sergeant John Reyes.

For the 552 students who attended, it was a rewarding experience that provided a unique insight into soldiers’ lives that aren’t portrayed in textbooks. 

For the 204 veterans, it was a way for them to connect with the younger generation and share their stories, some for a very emotional first time. 

“My reason is to let you know about my [Vietnam] war. A lot of things are skipped over. They don’t really go into detail anymore like they used to,” said former Marine Corporal Rudy Loera. It was his third time attending Rancho Remembers.

They brought souvenirs alongside their stories; some were pictures, local souvenirs, or even war mementos. 

As Rancho Cucamonga is a town that pays special attention to veterans and active-duty military service members, Rancho Remembers attracted the attention of Rancho Cucamonga Mayor L. Dennis Michael, CJUHSD superintendent Dr. Mathew Holton, local businesses. The event was previously awarded the Golden Bell Award in 2017 by the California School Board Association, the Pearl Harbor Gram in 2014 by Pacific Historic Parks, and recognized by several California State Legislature assemblymen and senators.

Rancho Remembers had its beginnings in 2007 with a humble assembly of 33 veterans and 90 students.