Memorial Day – More than BBQs and a Three-Day Weekend

Memorial Day – More than BBQs and a Three-Day Weekend

By Robert Haugh

Every year, millions of Americans enjoy colorful parades, the Indy 500, family barbecues, outdoor events and vacationing over the Memorial Day weekend.

While enjoying hot dogs, burgers and other libations, we must think about and honor America’s brave and courageous heroes who’ve fought for and defended our freedom.

Whether they were on the shores of Pearl Harbor, entrenched in the thick jungles of Korea or Vietnam, shot down while flying over Nazi Germany, massacred by a booby trap in the hot, sandy Persian Gulf or murdered in the bloody streets of Fallujah, many paid the ultimate price defending the freedom and liberty, including freedom of speech, that we so often take for granted.

Denny Weisgerber, at last year’s Santa Clara Veterans Day ceremony in Santa Clara said it best:

“Today we join as one people to pay a debt that we cannot truly never repay … Every year our humble thanks cannot be enough to honor the sacrifices of these great men and women … freedom is not bought, it is not free, it has a cost … We must always fight for our freedom. Because freedom isn’t free … Remember, it’s not what you take when you leave, it’s what you leave when you go … This is why America is still the land of the free and home of the brave.”  The retired Marine, Purple Heart and Navy Cross recipient has spoken at many Santa Clara veterans Memorial events. The former Milpitas Mayor and longstanding SC Veterans Memorial Committee member was discharged as a staff sergeant after losing his leg in combat during the Korean War.

Santa Clara Veterans Memorial

Dedicated on Veteran’s Day, November 11, 2002, the Santa Clara Veterans Memorial was the brainchild of Santa Clara residents Jim and Marlys Lee, Jim Ash, and Ray Gamma. They presented the idea to the Santa Clara City Council in 2001, developed the design, and raised over a quarter million dollars to build it. The memorial features granite pedestals highlighting each branch of the U.S. military: Air Force, Army, Coast Guard, Marine Corps, Merchant Marine and Navy.

One of the memorial’s unique features is its 5,000 paving bricks. For a modest donation, bricks can be engraved. E-mail Jim Lee at, call (408) 296-2512 or visit for more information.

Memorial Day Events – Monday, May 29

Santa Clara Veterans Memorial – Memorial Day Ceremony

3 p.m., 909 Kiely Blvd. at Central Park

City of Milpitas Memorial Day Ceremony

9 a.m. Veterans Memorial Flag Plaza, located next to Milpitas City Hall, 455 E Calaveras Blvd., Milpitas

Mill Valley Memorial Day Parade

10:30 a.m. 220152175140142

Mountain View Cemetery Memorial Day Commemoration

10 a.m., 5000 Piedmont Ave., Oakland.

Presidio Memorial Day Commemoration

10:30 a.m., Presidio Officers’ Club, The Presidio, San Francisco

USS Hornet Memorial Day Ceremony

11 a.m. Pier 3, 707 W. Hornet Ave., Alameda

Normal admission rates apply.

Walnut Creek Memorial Day Ceremony

10 a.m., Gazebo at Civic Park, North Broadway and Civic Drive, Walnut Creek.

8th Annual Hillsborough Memorial Day Parade Carnival & Music Festival

10:30 a.m.,  Hillsborough Town Hall


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