Our debt to the heroic men and valiant women in the service of our country can never be repaid. They have earned our undying gratitude. America will never forget their sacrifices. President Harry S. Truman
It’s said that many Americans fail to recognize the true meaning of Memorial Day. For the residents of Colusa County, the pride and patriotism of our nation’s service members holds strong, as scores attended one or many of the Memorial Day ceremonies held in the county.
At 8:00 a.m. on Monday, May 25, 2015, the Colusa VFW Post 2441 held its first ceremony at the Colusa Cemetery, followed by a ceremony at the Holy Cross Catholic Cemetery in Colusa.
Colusa VFW President, Dennis Sanders was the master of ceremonies for the event which included an invocation by Gene Beauchamp, a salute to deceased veterans, and ‘Taps’ performed by Ron Simmons.
In honor of those who lost their lives while serving our country, the Community of Williams adorned the downtown streets with over 100 flags placed honorably by the Citizens for a Better Williams.
At 10:00 a.m. the Memorial Day Service began at the Williams Cemetery with Fay Turner acting as Master of Ceremonies.
Cameron Turner recited a poem in memory of his late grandfather, Jess Turner. The poem was written by Cameron’s father, Doug Turner.
“Although my father wrote this for my grandfather, in a way, it works for all of our fallen hero’s,” said Cameron Turner, “My grandfather was active in the VFW and only missed one rifle squad since his return from Korea, and last year marked his last.”
Jess Turner was 86 when he passed away in March, 2015. He was a Sergeant with the 11th Airborne and served as the 187th Regimental Combat Team as a paratrooper. Turner also served in the Korean War.
The Williams High School band played a few ensembles, with an invocation given by Pastor Dennis Draves. The playing of ‘Taps’ performed by Rylee Coder and Ron Simmons.
Jean Moore and Naomi Hampshire laid a floral wreath at the base of the flagpole in honor of the fallen soldiers.
In the community of Maxwell, the streets lined with flags led the way to the Maxwell Cemetery. Dozens of flags greeted guests, dozens more standing tall in the ‘avenue of flags’ each memorializing a soldier who made the sacrifice for freedom.
At 11:00 a.m. the Maxwell Memorial Service began, with the largest crowd of the county.
The event was hosted by the American Legion Post 218, the American Legion Auxiliary Unit 218, and the Colusa VFW Post 2441.
The crowd listened as the Maxwell Band performed and the invocation given by Rev. Malcom White.
American Legion Auxiliary Unit 218, President, Mary Lou Lenahan gave the welcome address.
Delores Reckers and Naomi Hampshire of the American Legion Auxiliary Unit 218 laid a floral wreath at the base of the flagpole in honor of the fallen soldiers.
Pastor Lloyd Ash gave the memorial address.
“We need to take stock of our blessings, and our freedoms, we need to stop being complacent and most of all we to stop being so careless of our freedoms,” said Pastor Ash, “The spirit of a soldier might say, ‘I have walked barefoot with bloody feet through the snow at Valley Forge, and you wouldn’t vote because it was raining?’.”
“We were born citizens, but it is when we embrace the noble causes in which the soldiers died, we can truly become Americans,” Pastor Ash added.
Pastor Ash completed his memorial address by reciting the poem, ‘Freedom is Not Free’.
American Legion Auxiliary Unit 218 member Marilyn Azevedo gave the dedication of the flags. This year’s addition included Hershell Cooper, Homer I. Danley, Kenneth I. Flagor Sr., David G. Lee Sr., Henry Reading, Jess D. Turner, and Paul Vessels Sr..
The benediction was given by Rev. Malcom White, with the salute to the deceased veterans by firing squad of the American Legion Post 218 and the Colusa VFW Post 2441.
The playing of ‘Taps’ was performed by Rachel Wilson.
Anastasia Azevedo sang the Star Spangled Banner at all four events.