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June 24, 2017
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A sea of flags

By: Irene Hilsendager
June 2, 2017
Annual Memorial Day Avenue of the Flags at Rohnert Park Community Center

A resounding melody played by the Rohnert Park Community band opened the Memorial Day event held at the Rohnert Park Community Center May 29. The celebration started 31 years ago with the Avenue of Flags on display; special flags that are called casket flags being very large in size to cover caskets. The flags on display are loaned to the Memorial Day episode by relatives, spouses and friends that have had someone pass away doing military duty.

The Boys and Cub Scouts led the crowd through the Avenue of Flags and Kelly Considine sang the Star Spangled Banner without accompaniment for the last 22 years. Kelly probably started this tradition when she was around ten years of age. The opening prayer was said by Captain Carl Moseback, retired from the United States Coast Guard after serving 33 years. 

Mayor Jake McKenzie and members of the Rohnert Park City Council and speaker William P. Matz were introduced.  McKenzie gave a huge debt of gratitude to Robert Safreno for keeping the Memorial Day event going for 31 years and for those that gave their lives to save our country and to also save our freedom. Although many veterans died in military action, many are also dying daily from the terrible agent orange or just being out in the elements with no place to call home.

Guest speaker, Matz spoke of how we should all support the families that have had fallen heroes or attend fund raisers to support groups that work with veterans. If possible, visit a decorated cemetery, visit veteran’s assistant living homes and listen and share stories with the vets. Visit a VA hospital as actions can create honor for the fallen people. 

Wayne Thush, Assistant Director of the Rohnert Park Community Chorale led the audience in singing “America the Beautiful.” The community band played a medley of different service songs, Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine, Coast Guard and Merchant Marines and for those that had been in that branch of service stood to acknowledge each and every one.

Captain Moseback said the final prayer and a long moment of silence came over the crowd while Taps were played. Attending the Memorial Day event was a target of opportunity to listen to stories about the veterans’ days in the military service.