By Thomas J. Sullivan–
Many throughout the city of Citrus Heights paused to attend the annual Memorial Day service held under the gazebo at Sylvan Cemetery on Monday, May 27. Good weather prompted an unexpectedly large turnout this year, said members of the Citrus Heights American Legion which coordinate and help organize the observance each year.
The ceremony began 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 march concluded at the gazebo where a one-hour ceremony was held to remember the men and women who died while actively serving in the United States Armed Forces.
“Those who died in the line of duty in service to our country gave their tomorrow for our today,” said veteran and cemetery chairman Jim Monteton.
Citrus Heights Mayor Jeannie Bruins and Police Chief Ron Lawrence delivered remarks honoring those who selflessly gave their lives during their military service in the nation’s defense.
Wearing his dress blues, Paul Reyes, a U.S. Marine Corps Vietnam veteran and Commander of Citrus Heights American Legion Post 637 for the past nine years, welcomed U.S. Air Force veteran Sylvia Thweat as the Post’s incoming Commander.
“We shouldn’t say ‘Happy Memorial Day’, but instead pause to remember the loved ones and family members who will continue to grieve for their loved one’s sacrifice. For them every day is Memorial Day,” Reyes said.
Sylvan Cemetery is the resting place of more than 8,500 deceased, including some 1,400 veterans.
On Memorial Day, a white cross or Star of David and a small American flag are placed on each veteran’s grave. This is performed by the American Legion, members of the cemetery grounds staff, Boy Scout Troop 228 and residents of Citrus Heights. The display is set up on the Thursday before Memorial Day and remains until the following Tuesday.
Participants in the Memorial Day march included members of the Citrus Heights American Legion and Legion Auxiliary, the Veterans of Foreign Wars, Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War, Sons of the American Revolution, Boy Scout Troop 228 and officers of the Citrus Heights Police Department.