Thank You Veterans
Today is Memorial Day, unofficially, the first weekend of summer. You could not ask for better Bay Area weather. I hope your Memorial Day weekend is going well.
Memorial Day is our chance to remember and celebrate those who died in the service of our country. Memorial Day was originally celebrated as Decoration Day on May 30, 1868, in Columbus, Mississippi, to honor Confederate soldiers killed at the Battle of Shiloh. In 1868, Decoration Day was observed at Arlington Cemetery with flowers and small American flags placed on the graves of Union and Confederate soldiers. Since then, the honor has been extended to all those who died defending the United States, and our Freedom, during World Wars I & II, The Korean Conflict, Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan and throughout the world.
Initially, being buried at a national cemetery was not considered an honor, but it ensured that service members whose families could not afford to bring them home for a funeral were given a proper burial. The Memorial Day celebration is one reason why Arlington transformed from being one of many national cemeteries into the premier national military cemetery. The event was so popular that in 1873, an amphitheater was constructed to hold the official ceremonies. (Renamed the James Tanner Amphitheater, it reopened in 2019 after restoration.) Beginning in the late 1870s, high-ranking veterans began requesting burial in the Officers’ Sections. Approximately 400,000 veterans and their eligible dependents are buried at Arlington National Cemetery.
Lafayette Hillside Memorial
The picture above is a section of the Lafayette Hillside Memorial. The memorial was established in 2006 for soldiers who gave their lives in the Iraq War. A vigil will be held in their honor tonight at 5 PM.
Memorial Day Observances
If you are looking for someplace to observe Memorial Day and give your thanks to those that have served. Here is a listing of a few of the activities that are happening in our area:
- Bay Point Annual Memorial Day’s Parade – in front of the Ambrose Recreational and Park Districts, 3105 Willow Pass Road • Bay Point, CA – 9:00 AM
- Concord Memorial Day Ceremony – Todos Santos Plaza 2175 Willow Pass Rd • Concord, CA – 11:00 AM
- Danville Memorial Day Celebration – Oak Hill Park 3005 Stone Valley Rd • Danville, CA – 9:00 AM
- San Francisco National Cemetery • San Francisco, CA – 10:00 AM
- San Francisco Presidio Chapel • San Francisco, CA – 12:30 PM
- San Ramon Art & Wind Festival – Central Park 12501 Alcosta Blvd • San Ramon, CA – all day
- Walnut Creek — Gazebo at Walnut Creek Civic Park, Corner of Civic Drive and North Broadway • Walnut Creek, CA – 10:00 AM