Services honor the fallen

Chris Caskey, The Union Democrat

Crowds gathered across the Mother Lode over the weekend to honor military service members who paid the ultimate price.

Veterans groups and community members organized myriad events in Columbia, Groveland, Twain Harte, Sonora, Murphys and elsewhere on Sunday and Monday. They hosted prayers, speakers and other opportunities to take a moment out of the holiday revelry to remember the fallen.

"Cheers for the living, tears for the dead," guest speaker Romel Mathias said in Twain Harte Monday.

She is the mother of Air Force pilot Lucas Gruenther, a Summerville High School graduate who diedlast year when his F-16 crashed in the Adriatic Sea.

Mathias, who lives in Twain Harte, spoke of her son during the ceremony, recalling a man who stood up for the less fortunate and inspired a community. Gruenther, 32, was stationed at an air base in Italy when the crash occurred.

For the complete story, see the May 27, 2014, edition of The Union Democrat.

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