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Dedication Monday of panels honoring WW II veterans
Fred White designed the World War II panels listing the 957 Manteca men who served in World War II. - photo by Photo Contributed

Memorial Day ceremonies set for Monday
• 10 a.m. at East Union Cemetery
• 10 a.m. at Ripon Cemetery
• 11 a.m. at Lathrop Veterans Wall

The panels listing the names of the 957 Manteca men who served in World War II are being dedicated on Memorial Day.

Penny Wilson, commander of the Manteca American Legion Post 249, will be master of ceremonies of the Memorial Day observance on Monday, May 28, taking place at the East Union Cemetery.

The program will begin at 10 a.m. with members of the Manteca Unified School District JROTC Color Guard posting the colors. The featured speaker will be Marine Corps veteran Burdell Brown who served in Vietnam during the 1960s.

“He’s a good man. He was a steel worker, and 10 to 15 years ago he hurt his back and has been retired ever since,” Wilson said.

Brown is also the father of two sons who have both followed their father’s military footsteps. Older son is Reilee, a 2004 graduate of East Union High School, who is in the Marine Corps serving abroad. Younger son Tulle who graduated last year, also from East Union, is also with the Marine Corps and is currently in boot camp.

Leading the national anthem will be a quartet of girl singers from the Bella Choir at East Union. They will also sing a patriotic song as an encore number.

“We will also dedicate the two World War II Honor Roll panels that we did the fund-raisers for. Pastor Mike Dillman (of the Church of Refuge) will be officiating at the dedication,” Wilson added.

Toward the end of the program will be the traditional laying of the wreaths by various groups such as the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post and Auxiliary, the American Legion, and Happy Wheelers in honor of those who gave their all in the service of their country and fellow men. This will be followed by the presentation of the Blue Star and Gold Star flags to families present – a Blue Star flag to a family who has a member serving at war in the military, and a Gold Star flag in honor of a family member who died while in service.

The memorial program will conclude with the playing of the Taps immediately followed by a 21-gun salute by members of the Veterans of Foreign Wars and the American Legion Post 249 of Manteca.

Manteca’s historic Union Cemetery, which is the resting place of many of the area’s pioneers, is located on the southwest corner of Union Road and Louise Avenue.

Lathrop Memorial Day service starts at 11 a.m.

In Lathrop, Memorial Day ceremonies on Monday, May 28, will be held at the Veterans Memorial Wall in Valverde Community Park on Fifth Street.

The program will begin at 11 a.m. with the Lathrop High School JROTC cadets doing the honors of posting the colors, after which, Connor Edward, a member of the Boy Scouts Troop No. 422, will lead the Pledge of Allegiance.

The highlight of the program will be the solemn Roll Call, when the name of every soldier on the memorial wall who died in the service of their country and fellow men is called upon followed by a period of silence then the Tolling of the Bell. Brent Maynor, co-chairman of the Memorial Day Committee, will do the roll call, with committee member Arnita Montiel doing the Tolling of the Bell.

The keynote speaker is Earl “The Pearl” Watson, retired United States Army. He will be introduced by Omar Khweiss, chairman of the Memorial Day Committee. Mayor Joseph “Chaka” Santos will do the honors of introducing the guests as well as the members of the committee.

Music numbers during the program will be presented by the Lathrop High School Band led by Band Director Desiree Bugarin.

The program will conclude with the benediction led by Pastor Jim Todd of the Crossroad Grace Community Church in Manteca. Refreshments will be served after the observance courtesy of the Lathrop Lions Club.