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Rancho Cordova Independent

Honoring the Sacrifices of Fallen Heroes

May 17, 2024 09:25AM ● By Ornella Rossi

Fire department trucks raise the American flag high at Mount Vernon Memorial Park’s Memorial Day celebration. Photo courtesy of Mount Vernon Memorial Park

SACRAMENTO, CA (MPG) - As Memorial Day draws near, communities prepare to honor and commemorate the sacrifices of fallen heroes. Several events will be held throughout the Sacramento area, providing community members with ample opportunities to participate in the celebrations.  

Memorial Day, observed on the last Monday in May, honors service members who have died in military service to the nation, according to the Department of Defense.  The holiday has roots dating back to the post-Civil War era, when citizens would informally place spring flower memorials on the graves of fallen soldiers.

All Sacramento-area residents are invited to join in the upcoming observances at any of the following locations.

The Cordova Community Council proudly presents its Memorial Day event at the Cordova High School Performing Arts Center, 2239 Chase Drive, Rancho Cordova at 10 a.m. May 27.

The theme of this year’s event is “Their Sacrifice, Our Gratitude,” encapsulating the essence of remembrance and appreciation for those who have given their lives in service to their country. At the heart of the ceremony lies a musical tribute, featuring patriotic music performed by the Rancho Cordova River City Concert Band.

This year holds a special significance as community members together honor the 21st-century heroes who witnessed the tragic events of 9/11 and selflessly rushed to aid those in need, many of whom did not return.

An event highlight will be the presentation by the Non Commissioned Officers Association, showcasing the “Missing Man Table.” This symbolic gesture, led by retired Air Force veteran Jim Sullivan, features a dinner table set with an empty chair, representing those who are missing or fallen.

“This is a dignified and beautiful service,” said Cordova Community Council executive director Shelly Blanchard. “All gave some and some gave all, and we are honoring that here in Rancho Cordova.”

On that same date, May 27, community members will also gather at the East Lawn ceremony at 10 a.m., where attendees can gather to honor the fallen heroes of the Unites States Armed Forces.

The event is being hosted at multiple locations including East Lawn Sierra Hills at 5757 Greenback Lane, Sacramento; 4300 Folsom Blvd., East Sacramento; and 9189 East Stockton Blvd., Elk Grove.

The Memorial Day ceremony promises to be a moving tribute where distinguished military speakers such as Bob Hilton and Gilbert Morales will take the stage, along with musician and bagpiper Liz Tubbs. Part of the program will also include the Armed Forces Medley and the POW/MIA (Prisoner of War/Missing in Action) ceremony. Complimentary refreshments will be provided.

Other events include the Memorial Day tribute at Mount Vernon Memorial Park at 11 a.m. May 27 at 8201 Greenback Lane.

Starting at 5:30 a.m. May 27, Boy and Girl Scout troops will raise donated American flags around the park, followed by the fire department hoisting a 50-foot flag at the entrance at 10 a.m.

Memorial Day Mount Vernon Memorial Park

 American flags encircle Mount Vernon Memorial Park at last year’s Memorial Day celebrations. Photo courtesy of Mount Vernon Memorial Park

"On Memorial Day, it is important to stop and reflect on the American patriots who have paid the ultimate sacrifice to keep us free,” said Mount Vernon Memorial Park’s general manager Carol Rybolt. “I am grateful for the brave men and women who serve in the military, standing guard to protect our country and our rights.  Let us honor and remember them on this Memorial Day and every day."

The event will feature a military band, a keynote speech by a Colonel from the California National Guard, and a Color Guard from the UC Davis ROTC program. A possible flyover, a popular attraction in previous years, is pending confirmation, adding to the day’s magic.

The tribute concludes at noon. with the symbolic raising of the American Flag honoring the sacrifices and expressing gratitude to those who have given their lives.

The 25th annual Memorial Day Ceremony at the Fair Oaks Cemetery District will take place from 10 a.m. to noon on May 25 giving special recognition to the women in time of war between the American Revolutionary War and World War II. The cemetery is at 7780 Olive St., Fair Oaks.

Speakers at the Fair Oaks ceremony include Eagle Scout Lily Rodriguez, Congressman Ami Bera and State Sen. Roger Niello. Boy Scouts of America Troop 380 will conduct the flag ceremony; Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 6158 and the American Legion Post 383 will conduct the Wreath Laying Ceremony. Tribute will also be paid to Ray Young, who founded the annual Memorial Day Ceremony in 1999.