Suzanne Clemens had a dilemma.
As one of the officers of the East Union Memorial Cemetery she was getting ready for Monday’s 10 a.m. Memorial Day services staged jointly by American Legion Post 249 and Jimmie Connors Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 6311 at the historic cemetery at North Union Road and Louise Avenue.
Earlier this year, the cemetery board updated its records regarding those buried at the cemetery who had served in the military. It was the first time since 1992 that the list of veterans buried at the cemetery had been updated.
Instead of just 180 veterans there are actually 372 whose final resting place is at the cemetery.
Cemetery volunteers realized they had a problem when they counted the available American flags. The had just enough to place at 180 gravesites.
The cemetery volunteers figured buying the necessary flags would be an expensive proposition but they had to do it. That’s when Clemens turned to her neighbors — Chuck and Terri Palmer.
“I was hoping with their connections that they knew of a place we could get a good deal on them as we expected they would cost $400 or so for the 12-inch by 18-inch flags,” Clemens said.
Clemens contacted the Palmers Wednesday morning. They said they would see what they could do.
Later that afternoon she had a knock on her door. When she opened it, there stood the Palmers with arms jammed with nearly 200 American flags.
“I was stunned,” Clemens said. “I wasn’t expecting for them to buy them.”
The Palmers made the rounds at Home Depot, Wal-Mart and Kmart to buy the flags with the help of the Charles O. Palmer II Troop Support effort that has faithfully been sending packages to our troops in harm’s way for years.
“It’s amazing with everything they had to do to prepare for this weekend that they took the time to do what they did,” Clemens said.
The Palmers lost their son in Iraq. Since then they have dedicated themselves to supporting our troops as well as Gold Star families in the area. They are also extensively involved with the Memorial Day Weekend Commemoration at Woodward Park on Sunday.
This Monday may mark the first time in 20 years that every veteran buried at East Union and served in the military will have a flag on their headstone. Boy Scouts and Gone But Not Forgotten volunteers help place the flags on Memorial Day and Veterans Day.
Vietnam veteran finally
getting a headstone
Roy Camper — who passed away a number of years ago — is buried at East Union Cemetery.
When volunteers were updating the veterans list they were stunned to find that his gravesite did not have a headstone. Camper served in the Vietnam War.
American Legion Post 249 Commander Bib Gonzalez stepped up. The Veterans Administration is tasked with making sure that when veterans are buried they have a headstone.
Gonzalez got a hold of Camper’s granddaughter to get the necessary paperwork filled out.
Sometime in the coming months Camper’s unmarked grave will have a headstone.
“He (Roy) was a well-liked guy,” Suzanne Clemens said. “We are planning to let people know when the headstone is in place so they can (pay their respects if they wish).”
Day coming up
While on the subject of the East Union Cemetery, the association’s annual meetings is set for Thursday, June 2, at 7 p.m. at the Manteca Transit Station on Moffat Boulevard at South Main Street.
The meeting is designed to bring the public up to date on the cemetery as well as ask questions.
The Friends of the East Union Cemetery has also just recently secured non-profit status and will be helping the cemetery board with fundraising.’
One of the events planned is Pioneers Day in July.
Cemetery clerk Suzanne Clemens noted that East Union Cemetery was founded nearly 150 years ago and is the resting place of members of 18 of the original families that migrated from Wisconsin to what today is Manteca.
A dinner is planned with covered wagon style fare such as cornbread and food prepared in skillets.
Panhandling is not
legal at Costco exit
A story on Wednesday’s front page regarding why the city has opted not to post no panhandling signs at freeway off ramps as has been done in Modesto and Stockton referenced the municipal ordinance and how it didn’t prohibit panhandling at uncontrolled locations meaning places other than intersections controlled by traffic signals.
Actually, it is unlawful if signs are posted against “loitering” on their property which Costco has done. Additionally if the individual has been advised they are trespassing he cannot be on their property.
Police Chief Nick Obligacion noted most shopping centers in Manteca have been good partners working to address issues concerning panhandling.
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