Veterans and their families and friends gathered in the grassy rotunda on Monday at Park View Cemetery in Manteca to remember and honor those who served and gave their all for their country.
The solemn occasion is a tradition spanning more than a dozen years and sponsored by the funeral home and cemetery which is the resting place of the World War II Manteca soldier whose memory is honored by one of the area’s Veterans of Foreign Wars – Jimmie Connors Post No. 6311. Every year during Memorial Day, cemetery crews spruce up his grave “to make it look brand new again,” said Park View foreman and manager Michael Burkes.
The cemetery has a “special military section with white headstones,” he added.
There are more than 500 veterans who are buried at Park View cemetery he said.
“Every year at this time, we put the big flags all around,” he said, gesturing at the line of flag poles around the grassy rotunda at the entrance to the cemetery, and along the central walkway behind the rotunda where Monday’s Memorial Day ceremonies were held.
The morning program was put together by the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 52 in Stockton, along with the Post Auxiliary members who distributed poppies to the guests in memory of the fallen soldiers. Auxiliary president Josephine Adame, whose own husband who was in the military has passed away, read the World War I poem, “In Flanders Field,” by John McCrae to explain what the symbolic flower is all about.
“In Flanders fields the poppies blow/Between the crosses, row on row; That mark our place; and in the sky/That larks, still bravely singing, fly/Scarce heard amid the guns below. We are the Dead. Short days ago/We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow/Loved and were loved, and now we lie/In flanders fields.”
Among the veterans who attended was Edward R. Burroughs, formerly of Manteca and is currently the associate county counsel for Stanislaus County. He is a Navy veteran of the Vietnam War. He was there in 1972-73 during the evacuation at the end of the war. The University of the Pacific and McGeorge School of Law graduate is not the only member of his family who served in the military. His father W.E. (Winifred Edward) Burroughs served in the Pacific Theatre during World War II. His great-grandfather, John Edward Burroughs, also served his country proudly.
Burroughs and his wife Norma were among the dozens of people who attended the Park View Memorial Day ceremonies.
Gary Prost, who represented Congressman Jerry McNerney at the program, exhorted everyone to “work every day, even in small ways, to make our community – the place that they died for – a place worthy of (the fallen soldiers’) sacrifice.”
“Preserve their memories…, honor them,” he said.
Of the brave men and women who paid the ultimate sacrifice for their country, Veterans Service Officer Ron Green said, “Pay homage to those who have given so much. The tree of liberty must be refreshed. Remember their sacrifices for God, country and family.”
Like the many Memorial Day ceremonies that took place during the day across the country, the Park View program concluded with the traditional 21-gun salute followed by the playing of the Taps.