Motorists were turned away Monday morning after parking spaces filled up at Pioneer and St. Augustine Catholic cemeteries where the largest crowds ever joined the Veterans of Foreign Wars and American Legion for Pleasanton's annual Memorial Day ceremonies.
More than 400 attended the services, enjoying the pageantry of color guards and marching military with the patriotic music of Bob Williams and his Pleasanton Community Concert Band adding to the solemn yet stirring ceremony to honor those serving in the military, those who have served and those who died in the service of their country.
Speakers included Jim Lyon, commander of VFW Post 6298, who was the master of ceremonies, Pleasanton Vice-Mayor Cheryl Cook-Kallio and Army Brigadier General Nick Tooliatos. Susan Stout-Pierce of the Jose Maria Amador chapter of Daughters of the American Revolution read a special poem written for the occasion, with "Memorial Reflections" read by Dee Matusiewicz of the VFW auxiliary and the "Gettysburg Address" by Rebecca Rodriguez of Girl Scout Cadette Troop 30986.
The Air Force ROTC honor guard from UC Berkeley fired a 21-gun salute to honor veterans, and the Collings Foundation, which is exhibiting World War II planes at Livermore Airport, provided a WWII Warbird flyover as part of the ceremony.
Later, after a public luncheon hosted by the Pleasanton Lions Club at the Veterans Memorial Building, Girls Scouts Mandy and Alyssa Hanou were honored with the organization's highest award, the Gold Award, for completing their project on the history of downtown Pleasanton. Their work is being recognized by the placement of a bronze plaque in the Veterans building.