With the first in a series of Memorial Day observances staged at Burwood Cemetery on River Road, members of the Escalon American Legion Post 263, Legion Riders and a variety of guest speakers made note of the service and sacrifice of fallen military members.
Opening up the ceremony at Burwood at 10 a.m. Monday, Post 263 Chaplain Casey den Ouden said it was proper to honor “the lives of those who paid the supreme sacrifice.”
Guest speaker, Pastor Joshua Fala of the Christian Worship Center in Manteca, outlined a number of his family members who have served and said the service and sacrifice of all veterans should not go unnoticed.
“Our nation is a greater nation because of the sacrifice your loved ones have given,” he told the crowd.
For those that are ‘Gold Star’ families, having lost someone during military service, he said there is a special need to remember.
“If it hurts to say their name, it also heals,” Fala said. “So keep saying it.”
A flyover of three historic military aircraft set the tone for the ceremony shortly before 10 a.m., with Chaplain den Ouden then introducing Pastor Fala and also Congressman Jeff Denham.
“We have over 60,000 veterans locally, from World War II to present in Stanislaus and San Joaquin counties,” Denham pointed out.
He said the government needs to make sure to provide more for those veterans as they return home, a small price to pay for the sacrifices they made for this country.
“From the blustery cold of Valley Forge to the blistering heat of Afghanistan, we can never repay the men and women who put on the uniform,” Denham said.
The service also noted four members of American Legion Post 263 that have passed away during the last year, remembering them with a moment of silence.
A wreath-laying ceremony and the raising and lowering of the flag was conducted, with a 21-gun salute following and then the playing of Taps.
The Legion Post then went on to host three additional ceremonies during the day, one at St. John’s Cemetery off Carrolton Road, one at Farmington Cemetery on Escalon-Bellota Road and one at the Valley Home Memorial Park in Valley Home.