Begun as Decoration Day after the American Civil War, Memorial Day observances give Americans the opportunity to show veterans and their families that their sacrifices are remembered and appreciated.
Ceremonies in Central Contra Costa County will honor Armed Forces members who have given their lives in defense of the United States. Memorial Day observation organizers from Brentwood, Concord, Clayton, Danville, Lafayette, Martinez and Pleasant Hill have scheduled programs in the morning and afternoon for people who would like to attend more than one.
Remembrance programs include a flag ceremony, comments from local politicians, keynote speaker, music, songs and more.
Ceremonies resume at 10 a.m. at the All Veterans Monument, at Alhambra Avenue at Berrellesa Street, with additional bagpipe music, prayer and flag raising, Pledge of Allegiance, and welcome by Mayor Rob Schroder, messages from Contra Costa Supervisor Federal Glover, Assemblywoman Susan Bonilla (D-Concord); letter from Rep. George Miller
The observance will conclude with a placing of the wreath, benediction, taps and a 21-gun salute. Refreshments will follow the ceremony at the Veterans Memorial Building, 930 Court St., where music will be provided by the Diablo Regional Concert Band.
Music kicks off the program with Concord City Councilman and former mayor Dan Helix, a retired major general, as master of ceremonies. There will be posting of the colors, prayer, Pledge of Allegiance and the national anthem.
Remarks are scheduled by Rep. George Miller (D-Martinez); State Sen. Mark DeSaulnier (D-Concord); Assemblywoman Susan Bonilla (D-Concord); and Contra Costa Supervisor Karen Mitchoff, Concord Mayor Ron Leone and Clayton Mayor Howard Geller.
Dedication of a new bronze plaque honoring six Clayton veterans killed in wars is planned, with the keynote address by Col. Michael Hudson of Concord. Music, personal remembrances, a closing prayer, taps, "God Bless America" and retiring of the colors completes the ceremony.
Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 1525, with its Ladies Auxiliary and Korean War Veterans Association Chapter 264 are joint sponsors of Memorial Day and Veterans Day events in Clayton and Pleasant Hill.
The Pearl Harbor Survivors Association, Military History Preservation Society, Detachment 942 of the Marine Corps League, Contra Costa Council of the Navy League of the United States, Diablo Squadron of Naval Sea Cadet Corps and Boy Scouts of America Troop 1630, Danville, will also participate in the program.
A welcome, bugle call to colors, parade of colors, Pledge of Allegiance, invocation, placing of the wreath and the national anthem, performed by Anne Dalke and Jillian Galletti, precedes a program of guest speakers.
Among those scheduled to speak are state Sen. Mark DeSaulnier (D-Concord); Assemblywoman Susan Bonilla (D-Concord); Contra Costa Supervisor Karen Mitchoff, Pleasant Hill Mayor John Hanecak, Pleasant Hill Councilman Jack Weir, Concord Mayor Ron Leone and Walnut Creek Mayor Bob Simmons.
Keynote speaker is Contra Costa County's new Veterans Service Officer Nathan Johnson, who will address how veterans and their dependents can better access federal and state benefits.
Johnson served as outreach coordinator at the Concord Vet Center after working as a readjustment counselor. During that time, he was a frequent speaker at demobilization briefings for families.
The former Marine served in Pakistan and Iraq, earned a bachelor's degree in communications from Cal State Stanislaus and a master's degree at UC Berkeley.
The Pleasant Hill program concludes with benediction, taps, a rendition of "God Bless America" and refreshments.
Contact Dana Guzzetti at email@example.com or call 915-202-9292.