Hundreds attended the Memorial Day Ceremony at the Faces of Freedom Veterans Memorial Monday afternoon. The event opened with a flyover by Estrella Warbirds at 12:00 noon. 85-year-old George Marrett flew the Right-wing, which peeled off from the formation to represent the missing man, who did not return from a mission.
The Boots and Chutes, who served in the 82nd Airborne during the Korean War, the Vietnam Veterans of America Chapter 982 and the Chumash Color Guard posted the Colors.
Rebecca McKinley sang an exceptional a Capella rendition of the National Anthem. Pastor Robert Campbell of the Santa Margarita Community Church gave the Invocation.
After veterans in attendance were recognized for the service, former Atascadero Mayor Ray Johnson talked about his 22-year-career in the Navy about the meaning of Memorial Day.
A memorial wreath was placed in honor of all fallen Veterans, particularly those lost in the Vietnam War- including James Duffey of the US Marine Corps Infantry and Wayne Lucas of US Army Aviation Armorer. The wreath was presented by the Vietnam Combat Veterans Group of the San Luis Obispo Veterans Center. They included Michael Belloumini, US Army Field Artillery; Dan Dale, US Navy CIC; David Glidden, US Army Special Forces; James Gunderson, US Army Aviation Commander; John O’Connell, US Marine Coprs Infantry,’ and Robert Segal, US Army Infantry.
San Luis Obispo County Recorder Tommy Gong and his two sons, Derek and Darin played TAPS.
The crowd was estimated at between 600-800 people. Atascadero City Councilman said, “I think a lot of people missed not having it last year, so the attendance was great. And Ray Johnson did a great job.”
Atascadero Mayor Heather Moreno said, “I love the Benediction given by Pastor Campbell who talked about, ‘Honoring their sacrifice by honoring our freedom.’ I thought that was so beautiful.”
Because of COVID restrictions there were not booths for non-profits agencies providing services for Veterans, and there was no barbecue after the event.