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Heros mom speaking in Manteca
Medal of Honor recipients story graces Traveling Tribute
Michael Monsoor - photo by Photo Contributed


• WHAT: Memorial Day Parade themed “The Price of Freedom”
• WHEN: Memorial Day, Monday, May 31, at 11:30 a.m.
• WHERE: Yosemite Avenue in downtown Manteca
• ENTRY: All veteran entries - groups and individuals - are free. Other entries are $50
• MORE INFO: Contact the Manteca Chamber of Commerce at 823-6121

Michael Monsoor was the only Navy SEAL who could have escaped injury or death that fateful day on a roof-top in the war-torn Iraqi city of Ramadi.

An insurgent tossed a grenade on the roof-top that hit Monsoor in the chest and bounced to the ground. The 25-year-old instantly yelled “Grenade!” and then – without hesitation – jumped on top of it covering it with his body. Monsoor could have been the only SEAL to escape injury on Sept. 29, 2006. But instead he chose to save his comrades. Two were injured and one escaped injury. Monsoor died 30 minutes later.

Monsoor was posthumously awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor on April 8, 2008.

His mother – Sally Monsoor – who accepted the nation’s highest military honor on behalf of her son will speak during the Memorial Day Weekend ceremonies on Sunday, May 30, at Woodward Park. Also accepting the Medal of Honor on Monsoor’s behalf was his father George.

The three days will include a military aerial procession, a parade in downtown Manteca on Memorial Day, an appearance by the Mile High Band for a USO-style show, over 200 classic military vehicles on display, dedication of the ninth panel of the Traveling Tribute to those who have given their lives so far in the Global War on Terror, and other activities as well including aerial fireworks celebrating those who returned safely from war.

There will also be 5,000 white crosses placed at Woodward Park honoring the sacrifices of the 5,000 Americans who have died so far in the Global War on Terror including Monsoor and Manteca Marine Cpl. Charles Palmer.

Monsoor’s official Navy portrait appears on the ninth panel of the Travel Tribune complete with a description of his heroic act that went above and beyond the call of duty.

Monsoor was born April 5, 1981 in Long Beach. His father George is a former Marine.

Monsoor had asthma as a young child. He strengthened his lungs by racing with his three siblings in the family swimming pool. He played tight end on the Garden Grove football team. He graduated from Garden Grove in 1999.

He joined the Navy on March 21, 2001. After completing basic he entered the Basic Underwater Demolition School (BUDS) and ended up being one of the top performers in his class. He then took advanced SEAL qualification training and ultimately was assigned to Delta Platoon.

His SEAL team was sent to Ramadi in April 2006 to train Iraqi Army soldiers. He often carried 100 pounds of gear in heat topping 100 degrees while on patrol as a machine-gunner and communicator.

Parade entries being accepted
The Price of Freedom” is the theme of the first ever Memorial Day parade that starts at 11:30 a.m. on Monday, May 31, at Library Park and heads down Yosemite Avenue to Manteca High where it will disband.

All veteran entries are free of charge. Other entries are $50 apiece.

The Manteca Chamber of Commerce hopes veteran groups - or individuals - will contact them in advance so they can be included in the procession.

Entries are already starting to trickle in including the first sponsor - Delicato Vineyards. The chamber is also looking for volunteers to assist with the parade that day. For more information contact the chamber at 823-6121.