On September 11th, 2001, America was struck by three coordinated terrorist attacks in New York, Washington DC, and Pennsylvania. Nineteen men and women from central Indiana were killed that day. Many of you in our community were affected, losing a family member, friend, co-worker, or neighbor. The following day, thousands of Hoosiers came together to mourn. People brought flowers to the sites of the attacks, stood in silence, and held vigils.

Each year, a few days after the 4th of July, a small group of people gather in Washington DC to honor and remember our fallen heroes. The event is called the National 5-Minute Silence and it’s a simple gesture that reminds us of the sacrifices of so many. The 5-Minute Silence is an annual event organized by the Family First Foundation . The purpose of the event is to remember the men and women that fell in service to the country, or who made the ultimate sacrifice.

It was a momentous day in the lives of the American military with the funeral of fallen service members being held at the National Cemetery at Arlington, Virginia. President Donald Trump and the First Lady Melania Trump were among the scores of dignitaries in attendance.

Monday 31. In May, hundreds gathered to honor our nation’s fallen heroes at the Faces of Freedom monument in Atascadero. The annual Memorial Day ceremony, organized by the Atascadero Veterans Memorial Foundation (AVMF), was the largest in San Luis Obispo County. The Estrella Warbirds flight kicked off the ceremony and everyone came together to support each other and our veterans after a year hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic. Dick Mason of KPRL Photo: Rick Evans word-image-4920 Dick Mason of KPRL radio hosted the ceremony and local artist Rebecca McKinley sang the national anthem. We’ll get through this together, Atascadero. word-image-1787 Memorial Day began as Decoration Day in the aftermath of the American Civil War. The story goes that in late April 1866, a congregation of four Mississippi women went to decorate the graves of soldiers who had died at the Battle of Shiloh. They found Confederate graves in good condition and maintained them alongside the unmaintained graves of Union soldiers. Impressed by the scene, they honored the graves of Union soldiers with floral tributes and mourned the lives lost. Memorial Day is the only holiday on which we honor the memory of those who died in service to our country. The holiday officially became a federal holiday in 1971. The guest speaker, Commander Ray Johnson, a Marine and Vietnam War veteran and former Mayor of Atascadero from 1996 to 1997, delivered a heartfelt speech commemorating those who gave their lives so that all Americans could live free. Those of us who served in the war fully understand the deep meaning of the ultimate sacrifice, Johnson said. Johnson was named Veteran of the Year in the fall of 2020, along with Lt. Col. Al Fonzie of the local US Army. The wreath laying ceremony was presented by the Vietnam War veterans group at the San Luis Obispo Veterans Center. District Secretary, Tommy Gong, and his two sons played the traditional military tune Taps during the flag salute. Pictures of Rick Evans word-image-4921 County Clerk Tommy Gong and his two sons played the traditional military tune Taps during the flag salute in honor of fallen and fallen soldiers. According to the Association of the United States Army (AUSA.org), Taps is both an eloquent and haunting tune. The origin story is interesting and somewhat overshadowed by the controversy. In the British Army, a similar call, known as the Last Post, has been heard at soldiers’ graves since 1885, but the use of Taps is unique to the U.S. Army, as the call is heard at funerals, wreath laying and memorial services. Those in attendance included Atascadero Mayor Heather Moreno, City Council members Charles Bourbeau and Susan Funk, and County Supervisor Debbie Arnold and City Attorney Dan Dow. Pictures of Rick Evans In honor of this day, Mr. Doe said: Memorial Day is a day when we honor America’s fallen warriors of all generations. We are the home of freedom because we have brave people. We must always remember. Each year, volunteers from the AVMF keep the memorial polished and cleaned throughout the year and before each event. The website says: Throughout history, patriotic Americans have united to serve a cause greater than themselves. Some came for the overall experience. Most came for the common values. They all came because they had a common dream. The people of the Atascadero Veterans Memorial Fund are such people. They believe that the true reflection of America lies in its ability to honor the veterans of the past who gave so much so that Americans could live free. Photo: Rick Evans word-image-4922 Another honorable annual event in the north county that was cancelled this year due to the pandemic was the annual Memorial Day event at the Paso Robles County Cemetery. Nevertheless, some flags were invited to come through over the weekend and stayed until Memorial Day on Monday. For more information about joining the foundation or how you can support it, please visit facesoffreedommemorial.org. Pictures of Rick Evans Editor’s comment: Memorial Day is a day to honor those who gave everything to protect our great country. At the Paso Robles Press, we believe America’s heroes deserve more than one day. The best way we know to honor those who sacrificed their lives for our freedoms is to continue to bring you information with truth, transparency and tradition. We have dedicated our lives to it and appreciate your support of local journalism.


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On Saturday, August 25th, hundreds of people came together in New Ulm, MN to honor and remember our fallen heroes. It was a very somber memorial service held at the New Ulm VA Medical Center to pay respect to the veterans who have paid the ultimate sacrifice. The speakers never failed to express their reverence for these great men and women who have fought for our freedom.. Read more about memorial day messages remembrance and let us know what you think.

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