The second annual Memorial Day Parade on Monday was largely a family affair with several of the groups consisting of three-generation members.
Del Webb at Woodbridge resident Pam Larussa were joined by three grandchildren – brothers Connor and Jack Mechelke and their cousin Emerson Morgan – to watch her husband, Sam, a US Army veteran march at the parade with the group of Del Webb veterans.
Kira Radke-Drechsler, 15 months, held two miniature American flags which she energetically waved at the parade participants while grandfather Robert Rodge snapped her pictures with a digital camera as her mom smilingly looked on.
Two-year-old Faith, whose dress was accentuated by a stylish tiger doll back pack, and her mother Staci found a perfect place to watch the parade near the gazebo close to the railroad tracks where the 11:30 a.m. event started. Like the annual Christmas event, the parade wound its way along the downtown area on Yosemite Avenue to Manteca High.
Leading the more than two-dozen parade participants was Marine Colonel Adrian W. Burke who served as the Grand Marshal. Burke assumed command of the Defense Logistics Agency Defense Distribution Depot San Joaquin last year in June. He was formerly the director of Logistics for U.S. Forces in Afghanistan in support of Enduring Freedom, among other major assignments.
Joining this year’s parade were several military vehicles, a float that carried the Markham Family with pictures of family members who have served in the military from World War I, the Cpl Charles Palmer Troop Support Program, Give Every Child a Chance with a banner promoting the upcoming rodeo fund-raiser at Dell’Osso Farms, representatives of the Manteca Police Department’s S.H.A.R.P. (Seniors helping Area Residents and Police,) Manteca Fire Department’s SAFE (Seniors Assisting Firefighting Efforts), members of the VFW Post 6311 and American Legion Post 249, the Coast Guard, and the Manteca Happy Wheelers who, just moments before the parade, also participated in the graveside Memorial Day ceremonies at the East Union Cemetery. Manteca City Council members Vince Hernandez, the mayor pro-tem, and Debbie Morehead also road in floats at the parade. Morehead is also the executive director of the Manteca Chamber of Commerce which organized the parade.