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Elk Grove Citizen

Residents Together Honor the Fallen

Jun 06, 2024 01:51PM ● By Emanuel Espinoza

Boy Scout Troop members and attendees during the walk from Elk Grove Memorial Cemetery to Elk Grove Regional Park. Photo by Emanuel Espinoza

Elk Grove Memorial Cemetery [5 Images] Click Any Image To Expand
ELK GROVE, CA (MPG) - Many residents gathered at the Elk Grove Memorial Cemetery on Memorial Day, May 27, to pay tribute to fallen veterans who served their country.
Participating groups were the American Legion Post Number 233 and Post Number 55, Elk Grove Veterans of Foreign Wars Post Number 2073 and the Marine Corps League Elk Grove Detachment Number 1238. The groups did a presentation of colors, a rifle salute and a folding of the American flag.
This year’s event paid tribute to Brian Hall, who served as an Army Sgt. First Class and was killed in 2009 while serving in Iraq. District 5 Sacramento County Supervisor Patrick Hume told the story about the late soldier.
Jonathan Lambdin, the Elk Grove-Cosumnes Cemetery District general manager, who had worked for the district for the past eight years, said that this event has been a Memorial Day tradition for “the past 30-ish years.” Lambdin said that every year, tribute is paid to fallen soldiers from different wars. 
This year’s event was a tribute to the Gulf War era, which also included the War on Terror, Lambdin said.
“We try to highlight a different conflict every year,” Lambdin said. “We have done everything from World War I on up to the present day.”
The event started with Elk Grove – Cosumnes Cemetery District chair Peggy Forseth-Andrews welcoming everyone. Veteran Mark Jensen and Sheri Retzlaff of Elk Grove sang “The Star Spangled Banner” and “America the Beautiful.”
Many veterans delivered speeches. James Burton, commander of Post Number 233, said that he had served in different wars for 34 years until his retirement in 2004. Burton served during the Vietnam era, the Grenada era and in the Afghanistan/Iraq War for four tours. 
“These people represent my history. These are people who gave themselves at one point in time or another to the United States and passed away,” Burton said. “We honor them every year.”
Attendee Heather Gale of Elk Grove said that this event has been a tradition for her ever since her childhood. Gale’s mother, Debra L. Gale, is the district secretary for the Cemetery District and they attended the memorial event to honor those who served the country. 
“I love this event and it’s good to see it grow each year,” Heather Gale said. “People from the community come out and it’s nice to see the remembrances of more and more veterans who passed in action.”
Many attendees took part in the Memorial Day Walk immediately after the memorial event ended. They walked from the cemetery to Elk Grove Regional Park to celebrate with a picnic at the park. Some attendees waved flags during the walk.
Congresswoman Doris Matsui said that this was “a wonderful event” as Memorial Day started after the Civil War, which was a difficult war for everybody because it was within the U.S.
“To recognize those individuals who paid the ultimate sacrifice during the Civil War is remarkable,” Matsui said. “I believe that it is important to keep up with and I am really glad that Elk Grove is keeping up with the cemetery because it indicates that we care in Elk Grove for the people who went off to war and paid the ultimate sacrifice and we have to remember our fallen heroes.”