A Memorial Day ceremony was held Sunday at the San Joaquin Valley National Cemetery in Santa Nella. Memorial Day, once known as Decoration Day, commemorates U.S. service members who died while on active duty, according to the Department of Veterans Affairs. First enacted to honor Union and Confederate soldiers following the Civil War, it was extended after World War I to honor Americans who have died in all wars.
Memorial Day observances continue Monday at a few locations in the area.
The day’s earliest scheduled event is 8:30 a.m. on the Seventh Street bridge. There, members of the American Legion and the Veterans of Foreign Wars will drop a wreath and flowers into the Tuolumne River in remembrance of those who lost their lives at sea. The service also will include a 21-gun salute.
At Acacia Memorial Park, 801 Scenic Drive, there will be a roughly one-hour service beginning at 11 a.m., conducted by Modesto VFW Post 3199 and Modesto American Legion Post 74.
Speakers are slated to include Mayor Ted Brandvold, Chief of Police Galen Carroll, Councilwoman Kristi Ah You and Stanislaus County Sheriff Jeff Dirkse. U.S. Rep. Josh Harder is the keynote speaker, according to a news release from his office.
Harder also is scheduled to speak at services at Lakewood Memorial Park in Hughson and Ceres Memorial Park.
The Ceres event is from 10 to 10:30 a.m., 1801 E. Whitmore Ave. Among others participating are Councilman Chance Condit, Lt. Brandon Kiely of the Sheriff’s Department, and leaders of Ceres VFW and American Legion posts.
At Lakewood, 900 Santa Fe Ave., the service is set for 1 to 2 p.m. In addition to Harder, Assemblymen Gray Davis and Heath Flora are to participate, as are VFW adn American Legion leaders.
One way to pay tribute without going to a scheduled service is to visit the Modesto home of Dan Joseph, who back in 2010 began putting in his lawn for Memorial Day crosses bearing the names of fallen heroes.
“We have 70 crosses displayed here,” he said in an email to The Bee, referring to his yard at 2109 Woodland Ave. “Fifthy-nine crosses display the names of Marine, Army and Navy folks that lost their lives in the current conflict in Iraq and Afghanistan. Eleven crosses have the names of police officers lost in the line of duty, including (Stanislaus County Sheriff’s Department) Deputy Tony Hinostroza and (Newman police Cpl.) Ronil Singh, who died here locally. Finally, we have 10 crosses showing the number of lives lost in major wars from the Revolutionary War to the current conflict.
“We live on a fairly busy street and wanted to take advantage of the exposure to remind the community of the awesome sacrifices made through history to keep us free.”