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Honoring the fallen
Orland residents remembered loved ones and friends who served in the military on Monday during a solemn and respectful ceremony at the International Order of Odd Fellows Cemetery.
For the third year, people turned out to pay homage to the sacrifices those who died in conflict or who fought wars and died years later.
Retired Orland Police Chief Bob Pasero led the ceremony in his capacity as national chaplain for the Missing in America Project.
He provided the invocation and talked about the birth of America's flag on June 14, 1777, when the Continental Congress approved it.
Joining Pasero were a number of speakers including Glenn County Sheriff Larry Jones and Chief Probation Officer Brandon Thompson along with people associated with the Orland Cemetery District.
Jones noted Memorial Day was first called Declaration Day and observed on May 30 as a day to honor those who died defending this country.
Today it has become a three-day weekend by order of the U.S. Congress, he said.
Jones' father lies in the OOF Cemetery and served in World War II, he said.
The sheriff also noted "every day should be remembrance day" of those who have died in military service and military mothers should be given special thanks for their sacrifices.
Thompson, a veteran of the U.S. Marines, was the keynote speaker.
"He is a quiet young man. You might never know from talking with him that he's a veteran," Pasero said of Thompson. "You might never know from talking with him that he is Glenn County's veterans' services officer."
Thompson urged people to remember veterans often and to pass that duty on to future generations.
He recalled both of his grandfathers were World War II veterans who served in different theaters, but their service inspired him to join the Marines in 1993, Thompson said.
Thompson also said his life and that of his sons, 10 and 18, are better because of the grandfathers' service, and Memorial Day is not about barbecues, picnics and auto races.
He discussed the heroism of Marines in Iraq and Afghanistan who lost their lives so others might be saved and also noted families remember military loved ones when there is an empty seat at the dinner table or one less person at a gathering.
Orland Cemetery Board member and World War II veteran Gordon Werner explained 1,100 flags are put on veterans' graves at Orland's four cemeteries purchased by the Orland Veterans of Foreign Wars, he said.
Werner also referenced the memorial train for assassinated President Abraham Lincoln in 1864, the service for his own close friend Gordon Pruett attended by a badly injured young marine last year, and local pioneer William B. Ide whose grave is near Hamilton City.
He lauded the heroism of local Vietnam veteran and Purple Heart recipient Ernie Simpson as well.
Cemetery district Superintendent Art Leonard told the audience he oversees a "City of Memories" since everyone buried at the cemetery is remembered by somebody else.
The Glenn Chorale sang patriotic songs, members of the Orland High School Band played patriotic music and veterans put of the flags of the five branches of service in the new flag section of the cemetery.
Flag raisers included Orland City Councilman Bruce Roundy for the U.S. Army, Angus Saint-Evens for the Coast Guard, Byron Denton for the Marines, Mike Hendry for the Air Force and Dean Edwards for the Navy.
Glenn County Sheriff's Honor Guard performed a rifle volley while Orland High Band member Chris Minasian did "Taps."
Edwards also gave the benediction as State Chaplain for the Missing in America Project.
After the ceremony, residents shared their thoughts on the event and what Memorial Day means to them.
James Elliott, 13, attended the observance for the second time with his father, Mayor Wade Elliott.
"I think it's good to remember our veterans," the boy said, adding he thinks it is wrong that the day was changed to a three-day weekend.
He added the day is not just a time to have barbecues but to remember the veterans.
"It was very nice," Korean conflict veteran Art Tefelski said. "They do a good job. I think just that it's done is important, so many communities don't do anything."
Glenn Chorale singer Bonnie Morgan said her niece, Kathy Tanson, is fighting in Afghanistan right now on her second tour with the California National Guard.
Her eldest son, Dennis Robbins, also served in the Marine Corps. in the past, she said.
"Bless our armed forces for protecting our country and allowing us to live our lives safely here at home," Morgan said.
Her younger son, Joey Tanson, 13, came as part of Boy Scout Troop 4 of Orland and posted the American flag.
"I feel this is quite an honor," Tanson said. "I believe there is a need to honor those who've fallen in the line of duty."
Roundy, a Vietnam veteran, said he was really honored to hoist the Army flag Monday.
"It's very humbling," Roundy added.
Denton served in the Marines during the Korean conflict, he said, and he is proud of the cemetery district and VFW for "honoring us veterans."