Rancho Cordova Honors Merchant Mariners at Mather VA

Rancho Cordova, CA (MPG)  |  Source: City of Rancho Cordova
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It wasn’t until the late 1980s when Merchant Mariners who served in World War II were classified veterans by the U.S. Government. --Photo courtesy City of Rancho Cordova

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During World War II, it is estimated 243,000 men served in the Merchant Marine. --Photo courtesy City of Rancho Cordova

“In Peace and War Remembering our Veterans and Honoring the United States Merchant Mariners” will be the theme at Rancho Cordova's 10th annual Memorial Day Ceremony. The event will be held on Monday, May 30 at Sacramento VA Medical Center Memorial Plaza, 10535 Hospital Way, Mather.

Pre-program entertainment will begin at 9:30 a.m. and will feature the Rancho Cordova River City Concert Band followed by the commemoration program at 10 a.m.

During World War II, it is estimated 243,000 men served in the Merchant Marine. Mariners died at a rate of 1 in 26, which was the highest rate of casualties of any service. Yet few veterans’ organizations accepted them, they received no veteran’s benefits, and they were not considered veterans

It wasn’t until the late 1980s when Merchant Mariners who served in World War II were classified veterans by the U.S. Government. Those who served after and who serve now still aren’t considered veterans. Rancho Cordova wants to change this by honoring Merchant Mariners to celebrate their accomplishments and help them mourn and honor the dead who served alongside them.

Keynote speaker will be Thomas A. Cropper, Rear Admiral, USN (Ret.), President of the California Maritime Academy. Also on the program will be Congressman Ami Bera; California State Assemblyman Ken Cooley; Mr. David Stockwell, Director of the VA Northern California Health Care System; Rancho Cordova Mayor David M. Sander; Council Member Robert J. McGarvey; and Dr. Todd Irby, Deputy Secretary of the California Department of Veterans Affairs.

The Cordova High School, United States Air Force Junior ROTC will present and retire the colors. The Pledge of Allegiance will be led by Phelps Hobart of the Pacific Merchant Marine Council. The invocation and benediction will be led by Deacon Walter J. Little of St. John Vianney Parish of Rancho Cordova.

The newest commemorative bricks dedicated to local men and women of the armed services will be acknowledged by Dr. Dawn B. Erckenbrack, LTC, USA (Ret.), Associate Director of VA Northern California Health Care System. Brick donors will be escorted by the U.S. Naval Sea Cadets and Cordova High School, United States Air Force Junior ROTC.

For additional information, please contact Stacy Delaney at the City of Rancho Cordova at 916-851-8878 or Tara Ricks at the VA NCHCS at 916-843-9247.