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Martinez to pay homage to Veterans this week

By DONNA BETH WEILENMAN
Martinez Tribune

MARTINEZ, Calif. – Contra Costa County veterans and others will be honored in Veterans Day ceremonies that begin at 10 a.m. Tuesday with the raising of the flag in front of the Contra Costa County Administration Building, 651 Pine St.

Events will continue through Wednesday, including the laying of wreaths at Alhambra Cemetery and at the All Veterans Memorial at Berrellesa Street at Alhambra Avenue.

Commander Ellison Lockett of the Sidney Severns Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 1351, said the flag raising on the day before Veterans Day has been an annual event for some time, and the organization tries to get its women’s detail or its honor guard as participants.

Nathan Johnson, Veterans Service officer, said about 200 veterans are expected to be honored at the Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors meeting that day, also marking the 50th anniversary of the start of the Vietnam War, and the 40th anniversary of its conclusion.

The meeting starts at 9 a.m. Tuesday in the Board of Supervisors Chamber in the County Administration building.

Recognition continues at 10 a.m. Wednesday at Alhambra Cemetery, Carquinez Scenic Drive, where bapgpiper Scott Parker will play, and the Rev. Jim Anderson of First Baptist Church of Martinez will say a prayer, said Barbara Patchin, Martinez Recreation coordinator.

The U.S. Navy Sea Cadets and League Cadet Corps will raise the flag, and Cub Scouts Pack 1351 will lead the pledge to the flag, Patchin said.

Shane Bower, chairperson of the Martinez Veterans Commission, will welcome those attending, she said.

Girl Scouts Troop 33763 will lay a wreath at both the cemetery and the All Veterans Memorial, she said.

Anderson will give a benediction, and for her eighth year, Jennifer Oertel will play “Taps.”

At 11 a.m., a similar ceremony will start at the All Veterans Memorial, with Parker playing bagpipes, Anderson leading a prayer and the Sea Cadets and League Cadet Corps raising the flag, Patchin said.

Martinez Community Choir, directed by Sara Stafford, will sing the national anthem and Bower will give another address.

Mayor Rob Schroder will also speak, as will U.S. Representatives Mike Thompson and Mark DeSaulnier, Assemblymember Susan Bonilla and Contra Costa County Supervisor Federal Glover, who is sending David Fraser in his stead, she said.

Michael Underwood will give a Veterans Day message, and Veterans Commissioner Richard Philbrook will describe a remembrance. At the conclusion, members of the American Legion Post 29 and Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 1351 will fire a 21 gun salute. Oertel will play “Taps.”

After the second ceremony, the public will be welcomed at the Veterans Building 930 Court St., for refreshments.

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