On Monday, May 29, from 10-11 a.m., Star Park will fill with veterans and their families to remember our fallen soldiers and sailors. Memorial Day ceremonies are a bittersweet tradition across the country — bitter because of the loss we grieve, sweet because we refuse to let them be forgotten.
In the 1930s, Memorial Day was heralded by marches across the country, with members of the VFW Ladies Auxiliary carrying signs proclaiming, “This is for our sons who did not return from ‘over there.’”
About this same time, Dorothy Alexander penned a song, “Sleep, Soldier Boy, Sleep.” It’s seldom heard today and few would ever remember hearing it. Yet, in her own passion and heartbreak, she created an emotional tribute to our fallen soldiers. The song is dedicated to those who served on land and sea, and goes:
“The battle’s over and peace is all around you, The canon’s roar, can never more disturb you, Sleep soldier boy sleep on. Your journey is ended your work here is done, Your flag you defended, The vict’ry you won, Sleep on among the blest.”
Memorial Day ceremonies at Star Park will begin with a Presentation of Colors, followed by our country’s National Anthem, as performed by Jo Beth Cosgrove.
Following a Call to Order by Chuck Lucas, VFW Commander (Coronado Post 2422), an invocation will be delivered by LCDR Paul Hyder, USN. Following that, a traditional reading of General Logan’s 11th General Order will be voiced by Sgt. Maj. John Clampitt USMC (Ret).
The Honorable Mayor Richard Bailey will read a Memorial Day Proclamation, followed by a reading of the 23rd Psalm, to be delivered by LCDR Mike Turner USN (Ret), of Coronado’s VFW Post 2422.
As the Service Songs are played, members of each particular service, many of them grizzled veterans of wars long past, stand proudly among the crowd.
The guest speaker this year is Vice Admiral Thomas Rowden USN. Area Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, and Cub Scouts, in addition to the Coronado High School NJROTC, will place memorials on the lawn, followed by a rifle salute and the playing of Taps by the MCRD Honor Guard.
The event will close with the singing of God Bless America and a Benediction by LCDR Hyder. The entire tribute is expected to last one hour.
“Coronado is incredibly proud of its military heritage and of all our citizens who have contributed to that legacy,” said Alan Herrmann, president of Silver Strand Chapter of the Military Officers Association of America – long time supporter of this event.
“We are honored to serve alongside all of those who make this annual event possible, to provide a Memorial Day service that respects tradition, and honors all veterans who have made the ultimate sacrifice on behalf of this great country.”
Coronado’s Memorial Day ceremony grows each year. Last year people overflowed into the street as the park filled with active and retired military, veterans, police and firefighters, politicians, grandparents, children and even a few well-behaved dogs. Although their numbers are less each year, several World War II veterans will be present among the crowd, and will stand to be recognized.
Behind the scenes and leading up to the event are a number of rehearsals between the various entities participating. Early that morning the Public Works Department is reminded to keep the sprinklers off that morning.
Pike Meade, now in his 80s, lives in the Wizard of Oz house in that neighborhood. He can be found at first light raking up leaves in Star Park. He’s been doing this for years and wants no acclaim, but it’s just the sort of good deed that makes Coronado so special.
This year’s Memorial Day tribute is sponsored and hosted by the Veterans of Foreign Wars – Coronado Post (2422). Major sponsorship this year is provided by the following: the United States Navy League, the City of Coronado, and the Military Officers’ Association of America (Silver Strand Chapter).
In addition to those people mentioned above, the VFW wishes to thank Boy Scout Troops 801 and 806, Chula Vista Girl Scout Troop 6121, the Coronado High School NJROTC, the Marine Corp Band San Diego and the MCRD Honor Guard.
Following the event at Star Park, everyone is invited to visit VFW Post 2422 at their headquarters (557 Orange Avenue) for light refreshments. For more information on the Coronado VFW Memorial Service on May 29, contact Michael Turner at (619) 865-4809 or email@example.com.