Manteca residents for the past 137 years have made it a point every Memorial Day to venture to East Union Cemetery to pay their respect to those who served America.
This year is no exception as Manteca is again staging one of three Memorial Day services Monday in the South County. The ceremonies are:
•10 a.m. at East Union Cemetery in Manteca, Union Road and Louise Avenue.
•10:30 a.m. at Ripon Cemetery in Ripon, 300 Stockton Avenue.
•11 a.m. at the Veterans Memorial in Manuel Valverde Park in Lathrop, 15557 Fifth St.
Manteca’s past Memorial Day observations - especially in the 1910s through the 1930s - involved people gathering downtown and then walking to the East Union Cemetery for a day of activities including services and a picnic.
This year’s East Union observation is being coordinated by American Legion Post 249 (McFall-Grisham) and Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 6311 (Jimmy Connors).
American-Legion Commander John Aguilar will serve as master of ceremonies. Speakers will be Chief of Police Dave Bricker who is an Air Force veteran and Sgt. Bob Gutierrez who was wounded in Vietnam. Jessica Campos of California State University, Stanislaus State will sing two patriotic songs.
Coffee, punch, and cookies will be served after the ceremony.
Ripon’s two veteran organizations, VFW Post 1051 and American Legion Post 190, are in charge of the 10:30 a.m. ceremonies in that community.
As in the past, these ceremonies are performed to honor all the men and woman who have paid the ultimate sacrifice for our country.
During the hour-long presentation, the American Legion Color Guard will advance the colors and the VFW’s Honor Guard will conduct the Memorial Day dedication. Ceremonies will also include guest speakers Mayor Chuck Winn and William F. Hunter. Afterwards a light lunch will be served at the VFW Hall.
The guest speaker for Lathrop’s 11 a.m. ceremonies is Pastor Mike Dillman. The Lathrop Veteran’s Memorial Committee is inviting all Lathrop veterans’ family and friends to attend.
The Veterans Memorial is located near the Lathrop Senior Center and adjacent to the parking lot.