By DENNIS WYATT
Rear Admiral Donald Gintzig will join Dakota Meyer - the first living Marine in 38 years to receive the Congressional Medal of Honor - as a participant in the 10th annual Memorial Day Weekend Commemoration on May 26 at Woodward Park.
The two contacted organizers asking to attend when they heard the 12th panel of the Welcome Home Heroes Traveling Tributes that lists the names of more than 7,000 Americans who have fallen in the Global War on Terror would be dedicated in memory of fallen hero Navy Corpsman James Layton of Riverbank.
More than 20,000 people from throughout Northern California attended last year’s event that Pentagon officials have described as the largest of its kind on the West Coast. Some 25,000 are expected this year by organizers.
Gintzig serves as the Deputy Chief, Medical Operations and Future Bureau of medicine and Surgery.
The Manteca City Council has agreed to waive $7,730 in city services ranging from park use feesand traffic control to garbage collection.
Meyer will speak during the Evening of Honor dinner taking place on Friday, May 24, at the Place of Refuge. Tables will be sold for $500 as the main fundraiser to underwrite the $50,000 plus it costs to stage the annual commemoration.
The May 26 event starts with the 4th Annual “Wounded Warrior Christopher Braley 5K Run/Walk” at 8 a.m. sponsored by 24 Hour Fitness of Manteca.
The Welcome Home Heroes Traveling Tribute bearing the names of all of the fallen will be on display along with 7,000 crosses placed by the Manteca American Legion Post 249. Pastor Pat Schatzline will be speaking at the 10 a.m. Community Worship Service.
The Kids Energy Zone is being sponsored by the South San Joaquin Irrigation District.
It will feature large bounce houses from noon to 5 p.m. There will be military helicopter landings including a Vietnam era Huey beginning at 9 a.m. There will be several military aircraft flyovers throughout the day.
The main stage will be filled throughout the day with various entertainment groups including the Air Force Band of the Golden West from Travis Air Force Base.
Gold Star family members will be escorted by the Patriot Guard Riders and welcomed by thousands at 3 p.m. before the dedication of the 12th panel.
A 6 p.m. ceremony will honor all veterans and wounded warriors.
The evening concert starts at 7:30 p.m. with Christian rock band The City Harmonic.
The 5th Annual “Marine Cpl. Charles O. Palmer II Memorial Car Show” with more than 400 entries will be on display throughout the day.
The event concludes with fireworks at 9 p.m.
The entire event is open to the general public at no admission cost. Those attending that make a $1 donation will receive a commemorative dog tag.