Local Memorial Day events to honor the ultimate sacrifice
The end of May marks one of the most somber holidays in the nation’s history, and this year there are plenty of Memorial Day events around San Joaquin County that locals can attend.
Most notably is the annual Veterans Memorial Day service at Cherokee Memorial Park & Funeral Home on May 30 at 10:30 a.m.
The event draws hundreds from around the county and features a guest speaker and the annual Avenue of Flags in which 1,016 large veterans flags are flown in remembrance of those who fought and died for the freedom the country enjoys. This year will be the 65th year the Avenue of the Flags has been held at the funeral home. Not only will large veterans flags be flown, but more than 8,000 small American flags will be placed at the graves of veterans at the park.
Some 6,995 combat veterans killed in Iraq and Afghanistan will be remembered as part of the Field of Flags, and another 40 Killed in Action Flags will mark the burial sites of War Heroes buried at Cherokee Memorial.
The event’s guest speaker will be Thad Forester, a self-described husband and father who wrote the book “My Brother in Arms” after his younger
brother Mark was killed in action in Afghanistan 12 years ago.
The Stockton Portsmen will provide musical entertainment, and a Missing Man Fly-by will conclude the program.
There is no admission to the event, but it is recommended yo arrive as early as possible as parking can disappear quickly. Cherokee Memorial is located at 14165 N. Beckman Road.
For more information, visit www.cherokeememorial.com/memorial-day.
Kicking off a weekend-long service is the “Not Forgotten” Memorial Day Celebration at Woodward Park, 710 E. Woodward Ave. in Manteca on May 28.
The Not Forgotten Team will set up more than 7,000 crosses to mark those who have fallen since 9/11. The crosses will be the centerpiece of the event.
In the past, the organization has sponsored traveling memorials such as the Vietnam Wall, The Traveling Tribute, WWI, and WWII memorials.
This year’s event will feature a replica of the Korean War Memorial in Washington D.C., and the “Remembering Our Fallen” National Memorial, displaying the photographs of the more than 7.000 men and women who have died since 9/11.
A replica of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and a First Responders Memorial to honor and remember those who serve the community every day will also be featured.
Other activities will include a Saturday Night “Appeal to Heaven” with Mario Murillo Rally, the Wounded Warrior Christopher Brayley 5K run and the Marine Cpl. Charles O. Palmer II Fallen Hero Classic Car Show.
Special entertainment includes a concert with Kinzi Fyfe and Band, fire dancers, and a fireworks show.
Various exhibits and ceremonies will be held throughout the day, and attendees can witness a Vietnam era helicopter landing, as well as an Army Chinook helicopter landing.
For more information, visit thememorialweekend.com.
In Tracy, the James McDermott American Legion Post 172 and Tracy VFW Post 1537 will be placing American flags on the 2,000 graves of veterans at the Tracy Public Cemetery, 500 E. Schulte Road, on May 28 at 8 a.m.
Similarly, the American Legion Karl Ross Post 16 will place flags at Stockton Rural Cemetery, 2350 Cemetery Lane Stockton, at 9 a.m. on May 28 as well.
Rick Caccam will play bugle throughout the morning and a new flag dedication will take place.
Lodi’s American Legion Post 22 will honor veterans that day at the Lodi Memorial Park and Cemetery, 5750 E. Pine St.. at 8 a.m. Members will set small flags at the graves of local veterans.
Volunteers are being sought to help load large flags at the American Legion Building, 320 N. Washington St., and transport them to the cemetery on May 30.
Loading will begin at 5 a.m., and the flags need to be delivered to the cemetery at 6 a.m. to create an Avenue of Flags. A Memorial Day Ceremony will begin there at 9 a.m., and the public is invited.
To volunteer, call 209479-2884.