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Entries sought for first ever Memorial Day parade May 31

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POSTED March 30, 2010 1:52 a.m.

Debby Moorhead would like nothing better than to see hundreds of Manteca veterans walking down flag-lined Yosemite Avenue on Memorial Day to the applause of thousands of spectators lining the street for the city’s first parade honoring those who have served America.

“It would be awesome to have every veteran in Manteca marching,” said Moorhead who - as chief executive officer of the Manteca Chamber of Commerce - is coordinating the parade being staged by the business organization.

“The Price of Freedom” is the theme of the first every Memorial Day parade that starts at 11:30 a.m. on Monday, May 31, at Library Park and heads down Yosemite Avenue to Manteca High where it will disband.

All veteran entries are free of charge. Other entries are $50 apiece.

Moorhead hopes veteran groups - or individuals - will get contact of her in advance so they can be included in the procession.

Entries are already starting to trickle in including the first sponsor - Delicato Vineyards. The chamber is also looking for volunteers to assist with the parade that day.

“It (Memorial Day) is a time for me to think to remember those who have died for our freedom,” Moorhead said.

Growing up she recalls going to the cemetery every Memorial Day in Nebraska where her grandfather is buried. Her grandfather, a citizen of Italy, served with the Americans in World War I which allowed him to immigrate to this country with his family.

“At the time I was so young I thought it was a park,” Moorhead said of the annual family pilgrimages to the cemetery to remember and reflect on the sacrifices of her grandfather.

The parade is part of a city-wide, three-day Memorial Day observation

Among the major events planned for the three-day weekend at Woodward Park are:

•The placement of 5,800 white crosses honoring the sacrifices so far of Americans in the Global War on Terror.

•The dedication of the ninth panel for the Traveling Tribute to those who have laid down their lives in the Global War on Terror. One thousand names have been added since the tribute was first dedicated two years ago. The inscription on the ninth panel – in addition to the 1,000 names – will detail the heroics of Michael Monsoor of Garden Grove in Southern California. The Navy Seal threw himself on a grenade in Afghanistan killing himself but saving the lives of six of his fellow soldiers. Sally Monsoor, the mother of the Congressional Medal of Honor recipient, will be on hand for the dedication.

•An aerial fly-by that will includeF16s that will pass over Woodward Park after taking off from the decks of the USS Eisenhower stationed in San Diego.

•A full-scale USO Show May 30 from 3 to 5 p.m. featuring Denver & The Mile High Band that won the televised competition to become America’s next big band,

•A hosted dinner at Prestige Senior Living for 42 Gold Star families within a 50-mile radius of Manteca that have lost a son or daughter in the Global War on Terror. They will travel from Prestige Living to Woodward Park by police escort on Saturday, May 29, for the dedication of the ninth panel of the Traveling Tribute.

•A replica of the Tomb of the Unknown soldier will be at Woodward Park.

•Over 200 classic military vehicles will be on display.

•The South San Joaquin Irrigation District will sponsor a Kids Energy Zone with bounce houses and such.

•The Ripon Police bagpipe band will perform.

•A 5K run will take place May 30 that will include Derek McInnis, the soldier who lost a leg in Iraq and is the author of “Exit Wounds.” McInnis also will give a speech during the official ceremonies late Sunday afternoon.

•An authentic military mess tent from World War II will be set up.

•Manteca Police will perform SWAT and K-9 demonstrations.

•An aerial fireworks show – significantly larger than last year – on May 30 will celebrate the safe return of all of those who have fought in the Global War on terror.

•Taps on Memorial Day evening at 7 p.m. will officially close the event.

•There also will be local talent providing entertainment and other facilities as well.

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