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Saturday’s dedication part of centennial
Mural 1
The World War I mural, on the left, will be dedicated on Saturday at 10 a.m. It is part of five murals on the side of the Manteca Bedquarters at Main Street and Yosemite Avenue that honors those who have served America. Next to the mural titled “Zero Hour” are the World War II and Korean War murals. Not shown are the Vietnam War and War on Terror murals. - photo by GLEN KAHL
Manteca is marking its 100th anniversary as a city Saturday with a birthday bash in downtown.

But before that happens, the community will take the time to honor those who helped assure Manteca and the rest of America would still be free 100 years after the city was incorporated.

The mural “Zero Hour” that is the fifth and final installment of the Manteca Mural Society’s salute to those that have served America from the greater Manteca area over the past century will be dedicated at 10 a.m. Saturday during ceremonies next to the Manteca Bedquarters at Main Street and Yosemite Avenue. The World War I mural was made possible by a $25,000 investment by the City of Manteca wedded to $100,000 in donations that made the other four murals acknowledging service during World War II, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, and the Global War on Terror possible.

Saturday will also mark almost 15 years to the day when the mural society dedicated its first mural just across the street on the side of the Century Furniture building on the occasion of Manteca’s 85th anniversary of incorporation. The mural “Crossroads 1918” depicts what you would see standing in the middle of Main Street a century ago looking west down Yosemite Avenue.

The mural society has now completed 34 murals. Their next project will be on the eastern facing wall of the Spin Cycle Laundry Lounge in the 100 block of East Yosemite. It will depict the actual completion of the Transcontinental Railroad.

The much-celebrated meeting of the Union Pacific and Central Pacific on May 10, 1869 at Promontory, Utah didn’t complete the New York City to San Francisco rail link. That didn’t happen until Sept. 8, 1869 when the Mossdale Crossing on the San Joaquin River was completed.

For several months in 1869, a passenger would board a train in New York City and travel west until they reached Mossdale. At that point, they would unload their luggage, cross the river by ferry, and board another train on the other side of the river before the trestle was completed.

Saturday’s dedication

ceremonies at 10 a.m.

Saturday’s 10 a.m. dedication will complete the $125,000 veterans’ mural project that professional muralists as well as military personnel believe is one-of-a-kind in the country. They know of no other mural project that covers all of the wars of the last century on such a large scale in one location as the Manteca endeavor.

The keynote speaker will be Chris Starling who retired from the Marine Corps as a Colonel in 2014.

 In 26 years serving as an infantry officer, he made ten overseas deployments including three combat tours. Upon retirement, he became the Director of Military and Veteran Affairs at the Marines’ Memorial Association in San Francisco, CA. In 2017 he transitioned to his current role as Operations Director at VetsInTech, a nonprofit, supporting veterans with programs for employment, education, and entrepreneurship in the tech industry.

While on active duty, Chris commanded the 2d Battalion, 2d Marines in Camp Lejeune, NC and the 23d Marines in San Bruno. His staff assignments included instructor duty at the US Military Academy, West Point, NY, as Chief of the Partnership Division at US Africa Command in Stuttgart, Germany and as the senior US Military Advisor to the Emirati Presidential Guard in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. 

Starling earned his BA from the Virginia Military Institute and a Master’s degree in Public Administration from the City University of New York. Additionally, he represented the Marine Corps as a Hoover Fellow at Stanford University.

Three men for the greater Manteca area lost their lives in battle during World War I.

They were:

*Sgt. Hope McFall, 26, US Army, Co. L 363rd Infantry, was killed in action on Oct. 1, 1918, in France.  He was the first man from Manteca to be killed in action. His picture is third from the left in “Zero Hour” mural. His son John — who was born after he died — went on to serve in World War II and eventually was elected as Manteca’s mayor as well as to the California Assembly before serving in Congress and rising to the position of Democratic Party Whip that was the third most powerful posit in the House of Representatives at the time.

*Corporal Earl Woodward, 28, US Army, 363rd Infantry, was killed in action Oct. 1, 1918.  McFall and Woodward served in the same unit and died on the same day.  Both men were from Manteca.

*Private James Joseph Chio, 18, US Army, Co. G. 58th Infantry, bravely laid down his life Aug. 7, 1918.  He was from Lathrop.