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Gilroy
June 25, 2024

Tag: memorial day

Religion: Memorial Day is a time to act

The year was 1868 and the United States of America found itself three years past the greatest conflict our young nation had ever known....
memorial day st mary cemetery

PHOTOS: Gilroy marks Memorial Day

Local residents, veterans and their families gathered May 29 at St. Mary Cemetery to remember those who died in combat serving their country. The...
memorial day

Memorial Day parade honoring veterans moves to Veterans Day

Due to uncertainties coming out of the pandemic, the annual Veterans Parade on Memorial Day will instead march through downtown Gilroy on Veterans Day...
memorial day

PHOTOS: Commemorating Memorial Day in Gilroy

American Legion Post #217 hosted its annual Memorial Day Remembrance Ceremony on May 31 at the Veterans Memorial Building in downtown Gilroy. The event,...

Letter: Gilroy Memorial Day Parade canceled

Last year at this time our nation was just coming to grips with a pandemic that would forever change our lives. Since then the...

Soldier’s Tale: Memorial Day spurs recollections of dad’s wartime sacrifices

On a warm spring afternoon 22 years ago, my dad and I sat chatting on the lawn outside a clinic where my mother, who suffered from early onset Alzheimer’s Disease, was having an MRI. My dad had been her caregiver for nearly 10 years. During a lull in our conversation, he took his worn leather wallet from his pocket and, from between two old photographs, he pulled out a lock of hair. “I think it’s time I told you about Helen…” he began.

Thank you, soldiers

Thousands of locals and visitors crowded 10th Street for Gilroy's Memorial Day parade Monday, to bask in the sun, enjoy unique parade floats and honor those who have served in the military. Little girls squealed at the passing horses, while little boys gasped at the classic cars driving by. Children of all ages scurried into the street for the free candy parade entrants threw, while seniors tapped their feet to the marching band that played peppy, patriotic tunes. The festivities were lively and relaxed, just as a holiday should be. But unlike the many barbecues and camping trips that Americans book over Memorial Day weekend, Gilroy's festivities seemed to remember that the true meaning of the holiday is all about honoring Americans who have given their lives to serve in the military. “This is all about remembering all the men and women who have served our country,” Gilroy resident Glenn Griffith said. Griffith, whose son is in the Navy and whose father fought in World War II, has made a point to attend the parade for the last 12 years. This year, he brought his daughter and 2-year-old grandson who are visiting from Seattle. His grandson sucked on a lollipop and admired a coordinated fly-over by a pack of jets shooting through the sky that kicked off the parade around 11 a.m. A 4-year-old girl named Anabella Iglesias jumped up and down when a group of dancing show horses from the Mexican riding group Charros passed by her. Dressed in a floral dress and sparkly flats, she held a pink pail for the candy she amassed during the parade. When asked about her favorite part of the parade, Anabella smiled. “Horsies!” she said. Anabella's mother Monique Iglesias, 24, said this was the family's first time at the Memorial Day parade. “My cousin is in the Marines, and I'm definitely thinking of him today. This is such a good day to appreciate soldiers, especially those with families here,” Iglesias said. Eighty-year-old Cindy Wilkinson of Morgan Hill enjoyed the parade for the first time Monday. She sat on a folding chair smiling, watching children laugh and wave miniature American flags around. “Soldiers should not be forgotten, past and present,” said Wilkinson, whose son served in the Vietnam War. “I think it's wonderful that we honor the military today.” The parade drew in nearly 60 different community floats, such as Relay for Life, Gilroy Girl Scouts, Watsonville Community Band, the Gilroy Police Department's armored “BearCat,” vehicle, a troop of historical tractors from Watsonville and an entourage for boxing champ Robert “The Ghost” Guerrero. Athenna Crosby, Miss National American California, sat on the back of a truck and blew a kiss to a group of about six energetic young boys as she passed. Eight-year-old Carlos Rivear blushed and beamed while his friends punched him in the arm and hooted. “No, she kissed me, she likes me better,” 6-year-old Uriel Valasquez said. The boys, red-faced and star struck, said that “seeing the queen” was the highlight of their day. The morning kicked off with more than 200 people gathering at Gavilan Hills Memorial Park to honor American soldiers who have died in combat. White-haired men in regalia placed their hands over their hearts when Gilroy Police Detective Stan Devlin played “Amazing Grace” on the bagpipes. The names of every Gilroy citizen who died while serving at war were read out loud and remembered, dating back to casualties of World War I and ending with the war in Afghanistan. Patty Gutierrez, whose husband Army Staff Sgt. David Gutierrez of Gilroy was killed by a roadside bomb in Afghanistan on Christmas Day 2009, visited with friends and family after the ceremony. “Every day is Memorial Day for us, but this day brings out more emotions than a usual day,” Gutierrez said. Dressed in a pink camouflage shirt with David's photo on the front, Gutierrez said her family planned to visit her husband's grave for some private time. Gutierrez's 6-year-old son, Gabriel, the youngest of three boys, is beginning to understand what happened to his father, Gutierrez said. “This day is to honor our soldiers like Dad,” Gabriel said. When asked if he was proud of his father, Gabriel smiled and bobbed his head up and down before running off with his brothers to get more cookies. Gutierrez said her boys are happy, and she is plugging along. “I just ask that people appreciate what our military does. It shouldn't matter what religion you are or what political party you're in, soldiers are soldiers and they still deserve honor,” she said. Cindy Wilber, 70, has been taking her 11-year-old grandson to the ceremony since he was a baby. Wilber's father served in World War II, and her uncle and brother also served in the military, and her nephew currently serves. “We're trying to embed something in his mind,” Wilber said of her grandson. “By taking him year after year, we hope he'll learn how important it is to honor those whose lives are taken to serve our country.”

How to honor Old Glory on Memorial Day

“Hey Red Phone, Memorial Day is approaching and I want to make sure I’m hanging Old Glory the correct way at our house. Any tips?”

Let freedom ring! Memorial Day parade Monday

Besides getting a jump-start on bumper-to-bumper traffic that will likely clog U.S. 101 for a gazillion hours on Monday, Gilroyans leaving town for Memorial Day weekend have another good reason to head back Sunday night.

Search continues Wednesday

Volunteers and the family of Sierra LaMar will not conduct a search for the missing teen Saturday, which kicks off the Memorial Day holiday weekend. 

SOCIAL MEDIA

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