6,000 who have died in Iraq, Afghanistan wars honored at Pleasanton Memorial Day ceremony | May 31, 2013 | Pleasanton Weekly | PleasantonWeekly.com |


Pleasanton Weekly

News - May 31, 2013

6,000 who have died in Iraq, Afghanistan wars honored at Pleasanton Memorial Day ceremony

Legion commander says fewer than 1% serve in today's all-volunteer military

by Jeb Bing

The commander of the Pleasanton American Legion post said Monday that fewer than 1% of the 300 million Americans serve in the military forces today and that fewer than 5% even know a military family.

In remarks made at the Pleasanton Memorial Day ceremony in the gardens of the city's Senior Center, Rich Ghera said more than 6,000 of these all-volunteer military men and women have died in Iraq and Afghanistan and more than 50,000 have been wounded.

"We gather here today to honor our military members who have paid the ultimate price serving our nation and must never forget the sacrifice they have made to preserve the freedoms that we have today," Ghera said.

Several hundred attended the ceremony, a Pleasanton tradition held each Memorial Day and sponsored by the American Legion Post 237 and Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 6298, which have their headquarters in the Veterans Memorial Building on Main Street.

The colorful ceremony included presentations by Mayor Jerry Thorne, and remarks by Maj. Gen. David Baldwin, commanding general of the California National Guard. Also participating were the U.S. Air Force R.O.T.C. unit from UC Berkeley, local Boy Scouts and the color guards of both the American Legion and VFW posts.

A special Memorial Day poem was read by Diane Groome, the regent of the Jose Maria Amador chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution, with the Gettysburg Address recited by Ann Collins, another Pleasanton Memorial Day ceremony tradition.

A wreath commemorating the sacrifices of military men and women was placed in front of the gathering by Lisa Rosales and Gloria Stahlnecker of the VFW's Ladies Auxiliary.

Patriotic music was provided by the Pleasanton Community Concert Band under the direction of Bob Williams.

After the ceremony, the two veterans' organizations hosted a free barbecue at the Veterans Memorial Building where the two students who won the Patriotic Essay contest were recognized with the VFW's "Voice of Democracy" award. They were Sricharana Muppidi, a senior at Amador Valley High School who was also on the school's "We the People" civics team that won second place in national competition last month in Washington, D.C., and Nathaniel Wong of St. Joachim School in Hayward.


Like this comment
Posted by Snapshot
a resident of Livermore
on Jun 6, 2013 at 10:17 am

Thank you to all of those who have served and currently serving our great country. Your courage and bravery is what has kept America free.
You are not forgotten.

Here is a link to my slide show of the Memorial Day Ceremony.

Web Link

Like this comment
Posted by Sue Williams
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 7, 2013 at 8:32 am

Thank you to the family who set up the memorial at the corner of Valley, Bernal and Stanley Avenue across from the McDonalds. There were posters and several flags, including a casket flag. It was a strong reminder that some families live with every day being a memorial day. Let's also tell Congress to speed up the processing of records for veterans needing medical help. They shouldn't have to wait years to get assistance.

Like this comment
Posted by Mike
a resident of Highland Oaks
on Jun 9, 2013 at 3:16 pm

I served 3 years in the Army and I know military families; however, it has become increasingly disturbing to hear variations of the phrase,

". . . paid the ultimate price . . . to preserve the freedoms that we have today."

Seems our freedoms were doing just fine until we got to Iraq. Now, my phone conversations are accessed at will by an increasingly long list of government agencies, I can't get on an airplane without exposing a significant amount of my body to search and running a gauntlet of rude and aggressive security staff with the authority to detain me indefinitely without reason, and my assets can be seized on the suspicion rather than the conviction of a crime.

I want to suggest an amendment to the standard phrase: "Let us honor those who are paying the ultimate price while we steadily loose the freedoms and protections we used to have."