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Fireworks, USO Show Sunday at Woodward Park
Fireworks will be launched over Woodward Park Sunday at 8:45 p.m. to celebrate the return of those serving America from Iraq and Afghanistan. - photo by Bulletin file photo

Memorial Day Weekend 2009 One Nation Under God


• 2 & 6 p.m. “Not Forgotten” musical drama at The Place of Refuge, 486 Button Ave.


• 2:30 to 5:30 p.m. USO Show at Woodward Park
• 6 p.m. Official ceremonies at Woodward Park
• 8:45 p.m. Aerial fireworks at Woodward Park


• 6 a.m.  2,400 flags displayed as part of Flags over Manteca
• 9 a.m. Dedication of memorial wall at Big League Dreams sports complex honoring Marine Cpl. Charles Palmer II who gave his life in Iraq.
• 10:30 a.m. Traditional Memorial Day services at East Union Cemetery

Fireworks lighting up the sky over Woodward Park Sunday at 8:45 p.m. will celebrate the safe return of those who have served America fighting the War on Terror in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Then on Monday at 9 a.m. Manteca leaders will honor the sacrifice of one who didn’t make it back – Marine Cpl. Charles Palmer – by dedicating the plaza at the Big League Dreams sports complex in his honor. Palmer was killed while serving in Iraq. He was the first Mantecan to die in the war.

The Place of Refuge, 486 Button Ave., will stage its poignant “Not Forgotten” musical drama today at 2 and 6 p.m.

The production is a tribute to the fallen as well as those who have served America.

USO Show, program & fireworks Sunday

A USO Show that is part of the “One Nation Under God” celebration takes place at Woodward Park.

Those attending the USO Show inside the fenced in grassy storm retention basin at Woodward Park Sunday are advised to bring lawn chairs or blankets as there will be no seating available. They also are being advised not to bring food or drinks for security reasons. Local non-profits will have concessions available.

There will be a Soldiers’ Angels collection booth at the event.  The following items are being requested for overseas shipment: hard candies (Tootsie Roll Pops/Charms Pops), beef jerky, powder drink mix – single packets, baby wipes (preferably in plastic diaper bag sized case), sunscreen, and AT&T International phone cards.  Money will also be accepted as a donation to help with shipping costs and other items.

There will also be a flag burning ceremony, which is the proper way to dispose of tattered and torn flags.  One wishing to dispose of a worn flag in the honorable manner can bring their discarded flags to the event and turn them in at the American Legion booth at the Woodward Park event site.  

Manteca’s One Nation under God events are being heralded as the largest Memorial Day weekend commemoration this year on the West Coast.

Sunday’s Woodward Park activities feature a USO Show from 2:30 to 5:30 p.m. It will feature free entertainment, a military vehicle display, free food and drinks for veterans, CHP K-9 exhibit, children’s fun center, exhibits and concessions, veteran services, Soldiers Angels collection center, aircraft fly over, special tribute to wounded warriors, a ceremony honoring veterans, marching bands, and the Moving Wall tribute to those who have died so far in the Global War on Terror.

The official program will feature speakers Medal of Honor recipient Sgt. Sammy Davis who attended Manteca High for three years, Sgt. Bob Gutierrez of the famous Navajo Code Talkers who befuddled the Japanese, and Sgt. Earl Watson who is a Battle of the Bulge survivor. The Battle of the Bulge was the bloodiest battle of World War II.

Those Japanese Americans who served in the 442nd Brigade, for whom a segment of Highway 99 is named in honor of, will also be attending. They served America in the European theater during World War II despite having their families placed in internment camps.

Music will be provided by the Mi Wuk church choir and band as well as “We are Family.”

The program will end with a 21-gun salute from Howitzers.

Then at 8:45 p.m. aerial fireworks will take place over Woodward Park to “celebrate the turn of our soldiers from Iran and Afghanistan.”

Other activities on Monday
On Memorial Day on Monday, May 25, sunrise will come to Manteca with 2,400 flags lining the streets as part of the Flags Over Manteca effort.

Then at 10:30 a.m. the traditional Memorial Day service takes place at East Union Cemetery.

The day – and weekend – will end at 8 p.m. with the playing of taps and the retiring of the colors at the BLD complex.