Monday across the United States is Memorial Day, the federal holiday set aside for remembering men and women who have died while serving in the nation's armed forces.
More than 1.1 million military veterans have been killed in U.S. wars, according to estimates from the Department of Defense and the Department of Veterans Affairs.
People in Tuolumne County and Calaveras County have opportunities Sunday, Monday and Tuesday to take part in Memorial Day remembrances.
A Tuolumne County Veterans Memorial Day Commemoration is planned at noon Sunday at Mountain Shadow Cemetery, says Lonald Lott with American Legion Smyth-Bolter Post 58 in Sonora. Also supporting the event are members of Vietnam Veterans of America Chapter 391, Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 3154 and VFW Post 3154 Ladies Auxiliary.
Lott says Sonora police Chief Turu VanderWiel will be master of ceremonies and Chaplain Teresa Nelson from Adventist Health Sonora will speak. Members of Summerville High School Choir and Boy Scout Troop 570 in Sonora will also take part in the one-hour event.
Mountain Shadow Cemetery is on Lyons Bald Mountain Road. Organizers urge people to arrive early.
At 10 a.m. Sunday , members of Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 3154 and Vietnam Veterans of America Chapter 391, both based in Sonora, will host a Memorial Day service and tribute at Columbia Cemetery. Organizers say wreaths will be placed to honor fallen veterans from each branch of the military and there will be a flag-folding ceremony. A rifle salute by veterans will be followed by the playing of taps.
At 11 a.m. Monday, the public is invited to a Memorial Day Salute at Columbia Cemetery near the end of School House Street. Organizers say the ceremony, featuring the Grenadine Belles, will begin with an invocation, followed by a rifle salute by members of the Columbia Foot Dragoons. There will be a recitation about Memorial Day, three singers from Sonora High will perform “Battle Hymn of the Republic,” followed by bugle salutes.
The event is expected to last 30 to 40 minutes. Parking will be limited. Organizers urge people to arrive early.
At 11:30 a.m. Monday, people in Twain Harte are hosting their annual Memorial Day Parade, from Eproson Park to the flagpole at Joaquin Gully Road and Meadow Lane, followed by a dedication of the American flag. Then there’s a hot dog feast planned at the park.
From 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday, people at Christian Heights Church are hosting a Heroes Day Celebration for veterans, law enforcement, firefighters and first responders. Organizers say there will be bounce houses, games and a snack shack. The event is free. Christian Heights Church is at 13711 Joshua Way, Sonora.
In Calaveras County there’s a Memorial Day Concert planned 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. Monday at Murphys Community Park.
Organizers say the public is invited to attend the free performance by the Calaveras Community Band, “in honor of the brave men and women who have served, and continue to serve, our country.”
Members of the Calaveras Community Band will be performing patriotic music, as well as classics from Benny Goodman, Duke Ellington, George Gershwin and The Beatles. Murphys Community Park is at 505 Algiers St. in Murphys.
At 10 a.m. Wednesday at Carter’s Cemetery in Tuolumne there is a Memorial Day service planned to honor military veterans. Dorothy Tate, the cemetery board chair, says local Veterans of Foreign Wars will present a flag ceremony. Jazz@8 from Summerville High School will perform. Refreshments will be served. The public is invited to attend.
Memorial Day used to be known as Decoration Day. Historians say it started during and immediately after the American Civil War, 1861-1865, which was fought over the enforced slavery of black people. Decoration Day became known as Memorial Day beginning in the 1880s.
Memorial Day, intended to remember the fallen, is distinct from Veterans Day, which is recognized each Nov. 11 to celebrate the service of all U.S. military veterans.
According to the Department of Defense, war time U.S. military deaths include 4,435 in the Revolutionary War, 2,260 in the War of 1812, 1,000 in the Indian Wars, 13,283 in the Mexican War, 750,000 Union and Confederate dead in the Civil War, 2,446 in the Spanish-American War, 116,516 in World War I, 405,399 in World War II, 54,246 in the Korean War, 90,220 in the Vietnam War, 1,565 in the Persian Gulf War, and more than 6,850 in the ongoing Global War on Terror since Sept. 11, 2001.
Contact Guy McCarthy at firstname.lastname@example.org or 588-4585. Follow him on Twitter at @GuyMcCarthy.
This story has been edited to correct the date of the event at Carter's Cemetery.