With speeches and songs, flags and flowers, Valley and foothill communities are honoring fallen defenders of our country through the holiday weekend. A roundup of Memorial Day observances:
TODAY• Modesto – The Central Valley Knights Memorial Weekend Car Show is from 4 to 9 p.m. at Regal Modesto Stadium 10, 3969 McHenry Ave. The show is open to all cars and motorcycles of any year. There will be sponsored awards and a raffle. The entry fee is $20 at the gate; no charge for spectators. A portion of the proceeds will go to the Modesto Vet Center, a Carpenter Road readjustment counseling service for all veterans. Vet Center services are provided at no cost to veterans or their families. For more on the car show, call Larry at (209) 471-6745.
SATURDAY• Santa Nella – Stanislaus East Republican Women Federated will offer its third annual Memorial Day weekend “Flowers for our Fallen Soldiers,” when members and friends of the group travel to the San Joaquin Valley National Cemetery, 32053 W. McCabe Road, to place white carnations on the graves of veterans. They will meet at the cemetery’s administration building at 10 a.m. Anyone interested in participating in distributing the flowers or contributing for additional flowers may contact Liz Hart at (209) 527-4220 or email@example.com or SERWF President Karen Dyrseth at (209) 470-5551 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
• Manteca – A groundbreaking ceremony for a park to honor fallen Marine Cpl. Charles O. Palmer II will be held at Raymus Oleander Estate, southwest of Union Road and Woodard Avenue, at 10 a.m. as part of Manteca’s Not Forgotten Memorial Day Weekend. Palmer, a Manteca resident, died May 5, 2007, while conducting combat operations in Al Anbar province, Iraq. He was 36. Speakers will include pastor Mike Dillman of Place of Refuge, Toni Raymus of Raymus Homes, Manteca Mayor Willie Weatherford, San Joaquin County Supervisor Bob Elliot and Palmer’s parents, Chuck and Teri Palmer.
For a full list of scheduled events during Not Forgotten Memorial Day Weekend, see http://thememorialweekend.org.
SUNDAY• Santa Nella – The San Joaquin Valley National Cemetery will hold its 2014 Memorial Day ceremony at 10 a.m. at 32053 W. McCabe Road. Call (209) 854-1040 for more information.
MONDAY• Modesto – At 11 a.m. at Acacia Memorial Park, 801 Scenic Drive, Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 3199 will conduct a service, with honor guard provided by American Legion Post 74. The program will include U.S. Rep. Jeff Denham, R-Turlock, and Assemblywoman Kristin Olsen, R-Riverbank. Members of the Assyrian American Association of Modesto will lead the audience in singing “God Bless America” and will give 11-by-16-inch cloth U.S. flags to all who attend. For more, contact Acacia at (209) 522-0452.
At 1 p.m. at Modesto Pioneer Cemetery, 908 Scenic Drive, next to Acacia Memorial Park, the Genealogical Society of Stanislaus County will offer a tour of the cemetery mausoleum. Honor the 150th anniversary of the Civil War by visiting the final resting place of Civil War veterans: 1st Sgt. Cyrus Case, Co. C, 1st Maine Cavalry; Pvt. James G. Elmore, Co. D, MO Cavalry, CSA; Cpl. Hubbard L. Hart, Co. A, 3rd WI Infantry; Sgt. Bailey P. Hogin, MO Cavalry, CSA; Pvt. Isaac Zion, Co. A, 14th IA Infantry. For more information, call Janet Lancaster at (209) 529-9021.• Hughson – At 1 p.m. at Lakewood Memorial Park, 900 Santa Fe Ave., Modesto American Legion Post 74 and veterans organizations of Stanislaus County will present their annual Veterans Memorial Day Service.
Joe Rykert will sing the national anthem, “America the Beautiful” and and lead the audience in “God Bless the USA.” Master of ceremonies will be A.E. Menshew, past commander, American Legion Post 74. U.S. Naval Sea Cadets, Modesto Division, will post the colors.
Keynote speakers are Frank Machado, past department commander, American Legion, Department of California, on the topic “How Lucky We Are”; Stanislaus County Supervisor Dick Monteith; Assemblywoman Kristin Olsen, R-Riverbank; U.S. Rep. Jeff Denham, R-Turlock; and Adrian Condit, pastor of Freewill Baptist Church in Ceres.
Also on the program, bagpiper George Harcrow will play “Amazing Grace” and bugler Wayne Hill will play taps.• Ceres – A Memorial Day ceremony will be held at 10 a.m. at Ceres Memorial Park, 1801 Whitmore Ave.
• Oakdale – Veterans of Foreign Wars Romain Shell Post 2922 of Oakdale will hold a Memorial Day ceremony at 11 a.m. at Citizens Cemetery, East J Street and Sierra Road. The event will feature a reading of General Order 11 and a reading about the history of Memorial Day, a flag ceremony and an honor guard salute. For more information, call Bob Burger at (209) 847-5546.
• Turlock – A Memorial Day ceremony will be held at 10 a.m. at Turlock Memorial Park, 425 N. Soderquist Road.
• Murphys – Capt. L. Irving Williams is the keynote speaker for the Memorial Day ceremony and unveiling of a six-foot bronze statue at Memorial Park. The statue is being donated by John and Gail Kautz and the Kautz family and is dedicated to John Kautz’ brother Fred and fellow service members past and present who gave their lives fighting for our country. There will be a color guard presentation.
In July 1966, Williams volunteered for and received orders for deployment to Southeast Asia aboard the USS Kitty Hawk. He was shot down and captured in April 1967 at Kep Airfield, North Vietnam, during his 62nd combat mission. He was released from Hoa Lo Prison, called by POWs the “Hanoi Hilton,” in March 1973. The final assignment of his Navy career was commanding officer of Naval Air Station Alameda. His combat decorations include two Silver Stars, the Legion of Merit, the Distinguished Flying Cross, two Bronze Stars, two Purple Hearts and seven Air Medals.
After the ceremony, a barbecue lunch will be held at the dedication site. All U.S. military veterans in attendance are invited to a free lunch provided by the Kautz family and Ironstone Vineyards; cost for guests and family is $10. The Calaveras Community Band will perform, and just across the parking lot at the Black Bart Playhouse, free WWII movies will be ongoing until about 2 p.m.
For more, contact Debbie Rocco of the Ebbetts Pass Veterans Memorial District at (209) 728-8180 or email@example.com.• Patterson – Elijah B. Hayes Post 168 will hold its annual Memorial Day ceremony at the Patterson District Cemetery, 10800 Highway 33, at 10 a.m. Boy Scout Troop 82 will raise the flag, and the American Heritage Girls will make a flag presentation. The ceremony also will commemorate the 70 years since D-Day.
• Statewide – Veterans and active duty military members will get free admission to California state parks on Memorial Day as a result of Assembly Bill 150, sponsored by Assemblywoman Kristin Olsen, R-Riverbank, which was signed by Gov. Jerry Brown last year. AB 150 authorized the Department of Parks and Recreation to provide veterans and active duty military members with free admission to state parks on Memorial Day and Veterans Day. Participating state parks include 133 parks that are accessible with the Surf Explorer annual pass, plus eight state vehicular recreation areas, as well as the California State Railroad Museum in Sacramento. For more information on state parks, visit www.parks.ca.gov.
MAY 30• Livingston – Livingston/Delhi Veterans of Foreign Wars 8327 and its Ladies Auxiliary will hold their annual Memorial Day ceremony in Livingston Memorial Park at Park and Main streets at 6 p.m. After the ceremony, refreshments will be served at the Veterans Memorial Building at Seventh and Peach streets. To learn more, call Denis Wells at (209) 394-2059.