Residents remember, honor fallen veterans on Memorial Day

Lassen County residents gathered at Diamond Crest Cemetery for a brief Memorial Day ceremony at noon Monday, May 27.

Originally called Decoration Day, family members decorated many veteran gravesites with flowers and flags as more than 350 American flags that once adorned the caskets of veterans were displayed alongside the road through the cemetery. These precious flags, donated to the American Legion by family members, are protected from the weather by the American Legion and displayed only on Memorial Day and Veterans Day. Members of the American Legion distributed small American flags to local family members to place on the graves.

Veterans graves are decorated with flags and flowers for Memorial Day at Diamond Crest Cemetery.

Steven Soto, commander of the Susanville Tommy Tucker American Legion Post, opened the ceremony, thanking those who attended “to remember and honor those American veterans who have gone before us,” and recounted the history of the day that began just after the American Civil War to honor Americans killed in that conflict.

He noted earlier in the day, Thomas Tucker, the first resident killed in World War I, had been remembered at the Susanville Cemetery earlier in the day. He noted veterans also were honored at the Chestnut Cemetery as well.

Ron Wood, commander elect of the Veterans of Foreign Wars, addresses the crowd at the Memorial Day ceremony.

He recognized and honored many veterans who gave their lives in service to the nation and recognized their sacrifice.

“As proud Americans, we should all remember our freedom is not free,” Soto said. “It’s all because heroes, some from our own families and neighborhoods, have paid the ultimate price.”

A chaplain offered a prayer in honor of the deceased veterans as “the awesome cost of the freedom we enjoy.”

Lassen County residents remember on Memorial Day.

Ron Wood, commander-elect of the local Veterans of Foreign Wars post thanked the community for remembering veterans on Memorial Day, those who helped with the ceremony and those who continue to serve even though they no longer wear the uniform.

“Memorial Day is not about cold beer and hot dogs,” Wood said. “A lot of people are camping, and that’s fine, but we’re here for a reason. Memorial Day is to observe the men and women who died in U.S. military service. It’s not to be confused with Veterans Day where we celebrate the service of veterans or Armed Forces Day for men and women who are still serving.”

A volley of 21- shots and the playing of Taps.

Lassen County District 2 Supervisor Gary Bridges thanked the public for attending and said we should remember every veteran who’s fallen in all of America’s wars.

“Again our nation has assembled to honor its … dead,” Soto said. “A thousand battles of land and sea and air … In the destinies of men, their souls go marching on. Because of them, our lives are free. Because of them, our nation lives.”

The honor guard fired a 21-shot volley in the veterans honor, followed by Taps to close the ceremony.