Memorial Day 5_26_14

Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 2333 chaplain Fred Williams salutes the flag during a Memorial Day ceremony in Suisun City, Monday. (Robinson Kuntz/Daily Republic)


Community marks Memorial Day with city, gravesite ceremonies

By From page A3 | May 28, 2014

FAIRFIELD — Dale Harrison couldn’t stop the tears flowing from his blue eyes.

Just a few minutes earlier, members of the Veterans of Foreign Wars Simmons-Sheldon Post 2333 had stood at the grave of his mother and father, placing a wreath and flowers at the base of the headstone.

Edwin C. Harrison served “20 years and a day,” in the U.S. Air Force,” Dale Harrison said. His mother, Georgia Harrison, served her country working in civil service for more than 20 years.

“Honored and proud” were the words chosen by Harrison’s brother, Keith Harrison, to describe the moving remembrance. Dale Harrison said he was happy his parents were chosen for the honor.

The couple is buried at the Suisun-Fairfield Cemetery, which was the first of two stops made by veterans and residents after the Memorial Day remembrance ceremony in Suisun City.

An American Legion observance followed at the Rockville Cemetery, where those who attended were reminded to renew their pledge of loyalty to our country and the American flag.

Suisun City Councilman Mike Segala read a poem “The Last Monday in May,” which asks Americans to recall year-round the sacrifices made by those who didn’t come home from war.

Memorial Day remembrances began with a ceremony across from the recently renovated Suisun City Veterans Memorial Building. About 100 people gathered to hear from keynote speaker Sgt. Maj. Jesse Branch, retired from the U.S. Marine Corps. He served during the Korean and Vietnam wars.

“It’s the duty of every veteran to relay the meaning of Memorial Day,” Branch said. “It’s not just a day off work.”

He asked the crowd to join him in a moment of silence in honor of Lt. Col. James Warren, a Vacaville resident and  Tuskegee Airmen who helped break the color barrier in the military. Warren died earlier this month.

Branch shared some statistics with the crowd, noting that facts have a way of not allowing people to ignore them.

  • Over a 37-month period during the Korean War, there were 136,935 casualties and 33,651 deaths, translating to an average of 909 American soldiers losing their life in that conflict each month.
  • The Vietnam War, over a 90-month period, saw 211,471 casualties and 47,369 deaths, he said. That was about 526 Americans who died each month.
  • In a 14-month-period in Iraq, there were 4,685 casualties and 803 deaths, about 57 American soldiers dying each month.

“We know who they are because when we visit the cemetery we can see their shortened lives on the headstone,” Branch said.

While there may be a time in the future when men and women don’t have to make great sacrifice to stand against tyranny and injustice, it’s critical to remember those who have done so, Branch said. He encouraged those attending to visit a cemetery, veterans hospital or just thank a member of the military.

“Today should be regarded as a civic obligation,” he said.

In his opening remarks, Patrick Grealy, Simmons-Sheldon post commander, said the U.S. is the greatest country in the world and that Americans are the greatest people.

“May the United States of American always be free,” he said.

Singer JB Ramirez closed the ceremony by singing “God Bless America” after encouraging people to write their representatives in Congress and insist that problems with Department of Veteran’s Affairs health care be fixed.

Reach Amy Maginnis-Honey at 427-6957 or [email protected]. Follow her on Twitter at www.twitter.com/amaginnisdr.

Amy Maginnis-Honey

Amy Maginnis-Honey

Amy Maginnis-Honey joined the staff of the Daily Republic in 1980. She’ll tell you she was only 3 at the time. Over the past three decades she’s done a variety of jobs in the newsroom. Today, she covers arts and entertainment and writes for the Living and news pages.

Discussion | 5 comments

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  • Rich GiddensMay 27, 2014 - 6:49 am

    California is the worst State in the union for vets and military retirees!

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  • FF64May 27, 2014 - 11:49 am

    And you sir, are the poorest example of an adult!

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  • Rich GiddensMay 27, 2014 - 6:45 pm

    Here you go porker pig cop----->A California woman says Veterans Administration hospital police beat her husband to death after he waited four hours for dialysis. Norma Montano says her husband of 44 years, Jonathan, died of a stroke on June 11, 2011, after he was beaten and had his carotid artery stomped by VA Police Officers. Montano says the hospital also lied to her about what happened to her husband. Montano’s son and daughter are also plaintiffs in the suit. Montano says he husband was tired of waiting, but when he tried to leave and go to another facility, he “was told by the nursing staff not to leave.” "Jonathan Montano told the nurse that he was leaving and was going to the VA Hospital in Long Beach, California, [and that] he wanted to leave the needle apparatus [a shunt] in his arm, so they wouldn't have to put a new one in at the Long Beach VA Hospital,” the complaint states. When he insisted on leaving, the staff at the Loma Linda, Calif., facility called VA Police. "The summoned VA Police Department police officers then stopped Jonathan Montano from leaving the VA Hospital in Loma Linda, by tackling him to the floor, slamming his head on the floor, and kneeing and stomping on his neck, and otherwise brutalizing and restraining him,” the suit says.

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  • Nancy B BoydMay 27, 2014 - 1:02 pm

    The program was great! We encourage everyone to come out to see us next Memorial Day and stay for the potluck afterwards!

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  • Nancy Ray EverettMay 28, 2014 - 11:03 am

    What a beautiful way to honor our Military, Also Mrs. Harrison was also a proud member of the NATIONAL SOCIETY of THE DAUGHTERS of the AMERICAN REVOLUTION.! Even tho I live in Kentucky, News travels very quickly! Many thanks to Georgia,s son for sharing the news with me today . and yes its ok for a Marine to shed a tear!! God bless all those that have served .and for those who have paid the ultimate sacrifice , .. Nancy ..

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