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6-day event shares faces, stories of California’s 750 fallen soldiers

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A veteran looks over one of the display panels of the tribute to the 750 Californians that have fallen in the Global War on Terror.

Photo courtesy Remembering Our Fallen/

POSTED May 18, 2017 1:33 a.m.

The price paid for our security and freedom is reflected in the faces and stories of California’s 750 fallen in the Global War on Terror along with poignant handwritten notes from loved ones that are being incorporated into  this year’s Manteca Memorial Day ceremonies.
The Not Forgotten Committee has arranged for the Remembering Our Fallen tribute to be on display at the Manteca Veterans Center on Moffat Boulevard from Thursday, May 25, through Tuesday, May 30 from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily. The tribute includes photos of California’s fallen and how they lost their lives. More than three quarters have a series of handwritten notes from loved ones accompanying the display of the fallen soldier’s photo and story.
The Memorial Day ceremonies conducted each year in a joint effort by the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 6311 and American Legion Post 249 will incorporate the Remembering Our Fallen tribute. Afterwards a BBQ lunch is planned for up to 1,500 veterans in the adjoining grassy basin.
The public is invited not just to attend the ceremonies but to drop by and view the tribute either on Memorial Day or the other days it will be at the veterans; center.
“It’s a reminder that freedom isn’t free,” said Ron Zell who is working with Pastor Mike Dillman to bring the tribute to Manteca. “The cost is extremely high. And we must never forget that.”
Zell said the tribute in some communities has been placed in shopping centers. In such locations it caught the attention of those who had no intention of viewing it as they were merely on a shopping trip. They ended up spending considerable time browsing the faces and stories as the point is hammered home that real people that lived and were loved gave their lives for them and not some abstract soldier.
When then opportunity came up to bring the tribute to Manteca, Dillman approached VFW Commander Carlon Perry. The plan was shared at a VFW membership meeting to combine it with Manteca’s annual Memorial Day services for this year only so that the day could honor all Californians that have fallen in addition to those who served from Manteca.
The display due to its nature has to be placed inside a building. Perry noted that before or after the ceremonies the tribute can be inspected by the public. The free lunch for veterans will be served at 11 a.m. on May 29.

To contact Dennis Wyatt, email 

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