CITRUS HEIGHTS, CA (MPG) - Memorial Day is not about barbecues, picnics, or races. It is about honoring the sacrifice of more than 1.5 million of our sons and daughters who died in uniform on land and sea and in the air since 1775. However, this number does not include those wounded or missing in action.

This was the theme of the Memorial Day service at Sylvan Cemetery on May 27, 2019. American Legion Post 637 Commander Paul Reyes cited General George S. Patton’s belief that it is wrong to mourn those who died but rather to thank God that “such men lived”.

The Citrus Heights Police Department motorcycle team escorted the procession of veterans, some in period dress including the Sons of the American Revolution, and the rifle guard of the Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War. Other marchers included Boy Scout Troop 228, Citrus Heights American Legion Post 637 and members of the community. The procession wound through the cemetery, stopping at four stations to honor those buried who fought in the Civil War, WWII, Korea and Vietnam with a prayer and a salute.

Following other speakers during the service, Police Chief Ron Lawrence spoke of the special bond the U.S. military and police officers share as they all take the oath to “support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic.”

Lawrence told the dramatic story of one overlooked hero of D-Day who showed extreme bravery under extreme conditions. Fifty-one-year-old General Norman Cota graduated from West Point Military in 1917 with Dwight D. Eisenhower. Cota served his country during peacetime for 30 years before he saw battle on Omaha Beach.

On D-Day, June 6, 1944 Cota was a brigadier general, second in command of the 29th division leading the Allied assault on Omaha Beach in Normandy, France towards the end of War II. His heroic actions that day earned him the Distinguished Service Cross for “personally leading traumatized soldiers through a gap of bloody Omaha Beach” where 2,000 American soldiers died.

The morning ended with a prayer, Harmony Express’s rendition of “Battle Hymn of the Republic”, a rifle salute and Taps being played.

Source: New England Historical Society

Memorial Day: Not a Day of Celebration, But a Day to Remember

By Elise Spleiss  |  2019-06-12

The Citrus Heights Police Department motorcycle team escorts a procession of veterans, some in period dress, Boy Scout Troop 228, and members of the community, pausing at four stations to honor those buried from the Civil War, World War II, Korea and Vietnam. Photo by Steve Gall

CITRUS HEIGHTS, CA (MPG) - Memorial Day is not about barbecues, picnics, or races. It is about honoring the sacrifice of more than 1.5 million of our sons and daughters who died in uniform on land and sea and in the air since 1775. However, this number does not include those wounded or missing in action.

This was the theme of the Memorial Day service at Sylvan Cemetery on May 27, 2019. American Legion Post 637 Commander Paul Reyes cited General George S. Patton’s belief that it is wrong to mourn those who died but rather to thank God that “such men lived”.

The Citrus Heights Police Department motorcycle team escorted the procession of veterans, some in period dress including the Sons of the American Revolution, and the rifle guard of the Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War. Other marchers included Boy Scout Troop 228, Citrus Heights American Legion Post 637 and members of the community. The procession wound through the cemetery, stopping at four stations to honor those buried who fought in the Civil War, WWII, Korea and Vietnam with a prayer and a salute.

Following other speakers during the service, Police Chief Ron Lawrence spoke of the special bond the U.S. military and police officers share as they all take the oath to “support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic.”

Lawrence told the dramatic story of one overlooked hero of D-Day who showed extreme bravery under extreme conditions. Fifty-one-year-old General Norman Cota graduated from West Point Military in 1917 with Dwight D. Eisenhower. Cota served his country during peacetime for 30 years before he saw battle on Omaha Beach.

On D-Day, June 6, 1944 Cota was a brigadier general, second in command of the 29th division leading the Allied assault on Omaha Beach in Normandy, France towards the end of War II. His heroic actions that day earned him the Distinguished Service Cross for “personally leading traumatized soldiers through a gap of bloody Omaha Beach” where 2,000 American soldiers died.

The morning ended with a prayer, Harmony Express’s rendition of “Battle Hymn of the Republic”, a rifle salute and Taps being played.

Source: New England Historical Society

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D-Day Remembrance with Living Legends at Aerospace Museum

Story and photos by Trina L. Drotar  |  2019-06-06

Commander Dean “Diz” Laird and Colonel Clarence “Bud” Anderson.

SACRAMENTO REGION, CA (MPG) - Seventy five years ago, Dwight D. Eisenhower authorized Operation Overlord sending 176,000 troops from England to France. The date was June 5, 1944. On the morning of June 6th, troops, including 18,000 parachutists, had landed or were landing on the shoreline of Normandy. An additional 13,000 aircraft had been dispatched to provide air cover for the troops. June 6th, 1944 is D-Day.

Clarence “Bud” Anderson was one of the pilots who flew 100 miles inland that day. He shared that story with a group of 100 visitors at the Aerospace Museum of California’s D-Day commemoration event on Saturday, June 1st. Anderson, a retired colonel with the USAF, was joined by retired Navy Commander Dean “Diz” Laird for a talk about their experiences during WWII.

“We are so fortunate to have them here today,” said museum director Tom Jones.

The men, a few years south of 100, entertained the audience for two hours, graciously posed for photos, and signed books, pictures, and memorabilia. They met the many attendees who stood in long lines for the opportunity to ask a question or to thank the men for their service, a phrase heard repeatedly.

Prior to their talk, museum volunteer Jim Ronko, dressed as a D-day glider pilot, led a group of nearly 50 people through a living history talk and reenactment. “Path to D-Day” began inside and finished outside in front of the C-53, a plane that would have carried gliders to Normandy. Volunteers dressed as parachutists sat inside and greeted children and adults. The tour set the stage for the talk.

WWII aces, Colonel C.E. “Bud” Anderson, USAF (Ret.) and Commander Dean S. “Diz” Laird, USN (Ret.) looked like the neighbor next door or a great uncle, belying the strength that both men displayed during WWII and continue to display.

“To all of our veterans, past and present, especially Bud and Diz, thank you for your service,” said Jones who provided an overview of D-Day before introducing the Placer High School graduates.

Anderson, a triple ace, served in WWII and Vietnam, and received, among others, the Bronze Medal Star, World War II Victory Medal, Air Force Longevity Service Award, and Vietnam Campaign Medal. He is a National Aviation Museum, EAA Warbirds of America, and San Diego Air and Space Museum International Air and Space hall of fame inductee. He is also a Congressional Medal of Honor recipient.

Laird, born in Loomis, suffered from motion sickness but he had his sights set on flying. Among the 100 airplanes he has flown are the F4F Wildcat and F6F Hellcat. He scored victories in both the European and Pacific Theaters, set a record during the 1949 National Air Races where he flew an F2H Banshee. He is the recipient of Distinguished Flying Cross and Audie Murphy Award, among many others. He is also a Congressional Medal of Honor recipient.

“Gentlemen, I salute you,” said Jones. The audience applauded and many saluted the two men.

“We were the hottest damn fighter squadron in the world,” Laird said, his voice quiet but strong. “We were told this, and we believed them.”

He talked about the new requirement to be qualified for night landing saying that most pilots were not enthusiastic and that reports from the executive officer “did nothing to bolster our morale.” Laird recalled a sky filled with 72 fighter pilots circling and trying to get into a traffic pattern. The men, constantly ridiculed, trained nightly. During the third week, Laird finally entered the traffic pattern, made several passes, and was determined to make the next pass his last. But he was going 10 – 15 knots too fast, caught only the top wire and was turned upside down.

“Damn Diz, we thought you were dead,” said the flight officer.

Laird did not have to make another attempt until he was back in the United States.

“It was a rather rough six months, learning new things from people who didn’t know how to do it in the first place.”

He threatened to punch his ops officer if he did not get a good mission. The mission, it turns out, nearly killed him, but he is a survivor who jumped out of an airplane for his 90th birthday and flew his 100th aircraft three years ago.

After flying a six hour mission, he returned to the ship, was seen by a doctor, and moved to sick bay where the doctor removed his appendix.

“You are one of the luckiest guys I know,” the doctor told him.

Anderson, it turns out, is also one lucky guy who credits the P-51 Mustang and Major General Jimmy Doolittle’s new instructions that fighter pilots could pursue and destroy while climbing to 18,000 ft. altitude. Previous mandates limited the planes to 15,000 ft. and required them to remain very close to the bombers.

“What a lucky break that was for us,” said Anderson. “That’s when victories soared.”

They were able to kill the experienced Luftwaffe pilots, leaving them with planes and inexperienced pilots. 

Anderson was the second flight to take off in the early morning hours of June 6th. Two squadrons of 32 aircraft were dispatched.

“Our destination was south of Normandy on the other side,” he said. The third flight leader said, “You know, that Bud Anderson seems to get home all the time. I think I’m going to follow him.” The mission lasted 6 hours, 55 minutes. A normal mission lasted 4 ½ hours.     

“It was a magnificent sight,” he said about the beach and seeing the troops and boats, adding that it was also the site of “incredible losses.”

After a standing ovation, complete with more salutes, the men met with attendees.

“You can be anything you want to be, just find something and excel at it,” said Anderson to Ryan, a young man.

Anthony Borrero, whose father also served in WWII, was one of the last to meet Laird.

“Thank you for our freedom, Commander.”

For additional information on Aerospace Museum of California, visit: https://aerospaceca.org.

 

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Women Veterans Alliance Hosts Fun Run-Walk-Ride

By Rachael DiCicco, FSB Core Strategies  |  2019-05-30

Melissa Washington, Founder of the Women Veterans Alliance and Assemblyman Kevin Kiley presenting Maya Washington with an award for top fundraiser. Photo courtesy of Rachael DiCicco, Ford Motor Company

ORANGEVALE, CA (MPG) – On Saturday May 18th, the Women Veterans Alliance hosted its annual Fun Run Walk Ride for Armed Forces Day to bring awareness to women who have served. In addition, the run raised money for Women Veterans Giving to assist women veterans in starting or expanding their business, and to fund their attendance at professional conferences.

“It is our mission at Women Veterans Alliance to create a community of local women veteran groups—a group that may not have received much recognition for serving our country,” said Melissa Washington, Founder of the Women Veterans Alliance. “This Fun Run helps us raise money and awareness, as well as to show support for our military on Armed Forces Day.”

The Fun Run began with an opening ceremony that featured a presentation of colors and National Anthem followed by a fly over from Coast Guard Air Station Sacramento. Assemblyman Kevin Kiley presented certificates to the Top Individual fundraisers, Maya Washington and Lisa Lambert and Team Fundraiser, the Bad Ass Marines.

“It is an honor to be here to support the Women Veterans Alliance on a day as important as Armed Forces Day,” said Assemblyman Kevin Kiley. “What this organization does for our community and Women Veterans is truly extraordinary and I would like to thank all of the amazing women who have served our country.”

Following the Opening Ceremony, runners began the race through Orangevale Community Park while being led by the 2019 Ford Ranger.

The Women Veterans Alliance was established in 2015 to raise awareness of the number of women who serve our country, something that often does not receive much attention. Over 2 million women veterans have served our country and this number is rapidly growing. In addition, over 200,000 are currently defending our freedom at home and abroad.

About Women Veterans Alliance- The Premier Network
The Premier Network helps to connect over 2 million Women Veterans (and our supporters) globally for the purpose of sharing our gifts, talents, resources and experience. To create a community to equip, empower and encourage each other with knowledge, resources, mentorship and career opportunities for women that have served our country to discover and fulfill their greatest potential.

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Trail Brothers to Provide Free Horseback Riding to Veterans

Miranda Raulinaitis, Elmets Communications  |  2019-05-23

Image of riders on Trail Brothers’ horses at Gibson Park. Photo courtesy of Trail Brothers

SACRAMENTO REGION, CA (MPG) - Veteran owned business, Trail Brothers LLC, will celebrate the grand opening of their equestrian services at Gibson Ranch Park by offering free guided horseback trail rides to veterans and their families this Memorial Day – Monday, May 27 from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Those interested in taking advantage of the free guided trail rides must schedule their session in advance by visiting www.GibsonHorses.com.

Zachary Leyden, CEO of Trail Brothers, served as a combat veteran and is thrilled to launch his equestrian services at Gibson Ranch.

“Gibson Ranch is a beautiful park and the perfect destination for veterans and their families to pack a picnic and celebrate this Memorial Day,” said Leyden. “We feel privileged to provide our services on the exceptional trails.”

The Veterans of Foreign Wars will also be selling their “buddy poppies” to celebrate American military service members.

As part of an ongoing partnership with Gibson Ranch Park, Trail Brothers will provide guided trail rides, pony ride and other equestrian services to guests following the Memorial Day grand opening. Gibson Ranch Park is located at 8556 Gibson Ranch Road, Elverta, CA 95626

For more information, please visit: www.gibsonhorses.com.                                        

About Trail Brothers
Trail Brothers began in 2016 and is owned by Zachary Leyden and Kalea Bell. The company provides equestrian services from trail rides, pony rides and horse training to kids camps and riding lessons at three different venues in California. Veterans ride free at all three venues.

About Gibson Ranch Park
Gibson Ranch is one of Northern California’s best family destinations. Located less than fifteen miles from downtown Sacramento, this amazing natural resource offers a wide-range of activities from hiking, to concerts and sports of every kind.

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CITRUS HEIGHTS, CA (MPG) - Memorial Day will be celebrated on May 27, this year. Memorial Day, not to be confused with Veterans Day, is a day of remembering the men and women who died while serving in the United States Armed Forces. Veterans Day on the other hand celebrates the service of all U. S. Military veterans.

Memorial Day, formerly known as Decoration Day, originated after the American Civil War in 1868 to commemorate the Union and Confederate soldiers who died in the Civil War. The end of May seemed to be appropriate since many spring flowers are available.

By the 20th century Memorial Day had been extended to honor All Americans who have died in all wars in the past 240 years.

Every year, Sylvan Cemetery in Citrus Heights honors those that gave their lives in the defense of their county. This year the Memorial Day service will be held on Monday, May 27, 2019, at Sylvan Cemetery, 7401 Auburn Blvd., Citrus Heights.

The ceremony begins at 10:30 am with a march through the historical section of the cemetery, stopping briefly at each flag station to read a prayer and salute the flag.

The men marching include the American Legion and American Legion Auxiliary, VFW, Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War, Sons of the American Revolution, Boys Scout troop 228, Police Officers of the Citrus Heights Police Department and all others that wish to march. The march will last about 30 minutes.

The march will conclude at the gazebo where there will be a one-hour ceremony from 11:00 am to 12:00 am. Many of the men marching will be in uniform – past and present – from American Revolution to modern day.

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SACRAMENTO, CA (MPG) - Volunteers of America Northern California and Northern Nevada (VOA) has launched a 40-bed transitional housing and employment services program for veterans experiencing homelessness in Sacramento County.

The program provides furnished temporary housing in individual studio apartments, meals, life skills and financial management classes, pre-employment and vocational training, employment placement assistance, substance abuse support, housing location and transportation services to single male and female veterans. This program is funded through a grant awarded to VOA from the Veterans Administration and is the only “Service Intensive Transitional Housing” program for Veterans in Sacramento County.

“We are very excited to add this invaluable program to Volunteers of America’s existing services for veterans in Sacramento County at Mather Community Campus,” says VOA Division Director, Sherman Haggerty. “This program will allow a unique group of veterans the extra time and help needed to meet their goal of achieving independent living.”

This program offers the first new transitional housing beds for homeless veterans in Sacramento County, in over three years. The housing units are conveniently located at VOA’s Mather Community Campus adjacent to VOA’s Supportive Services for Veteran Families, Homeless Veteran Reintegration Program and the Veteran Service Center all located on the same campus. These housing units are also conveniently located near Sacramento’s Veterans Hospital Administration Hospital. Additional housing units are currently under construction at the Mather campus which will increase local housing inventory.

Volunteers of America Northern California and Northern Nevada provides specialized programs for homeless and at-risk veterans and their families in the Greater Sacramento area. Services include rapid re-housing, case-management and homeless prevention. A large focus is heavily placed on increasing veteran men's and women's employment possibilities through life and job skills classes. 

Founded locally in 1911, the Northern California & Northern Nevada office of Volunteers of America is one of the largest providers of social services in the region. The professional paid staff operates more than 50 programs in categories that include: crisis housing, supportive housing, employment and training services, and corrections. In fact, Volunteers of America provides shelter or housing to nearly 1,800 men, women and children every night in Northern California. Nationally, Volunteers of America helps more than 2.5 million people annually in more than 400 communities. Learn more about Volunteers of America Northern California & Northern Nevada at  www.voa-ncnn.org.

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