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Memorial Day 2020 (Virtual)

Updated: Feb 8, 2023

The Covid Pandemic of 2020 has redefined normal for all of us. Sporting Events, School, Businesses, Dining Out, so many things we took for granted - now suddenly taboo to even suggest. Along with those events also came Memorial Day. But how could we even fathom the idea of not honoring and remembering our fallen service members? Simple answer, we can't and we won't.

When cities across the globe, including notable locations such as Arlington National Cemetery on the East Coast and Presidio and Golden Gate on the West Coast announced they had cancelled Memorial Day Commemorations, we at Wine Country Marines knew instantly, we would not accept that.

Once we met with our partners on the Santa Clara County Memorial Day Committee, notably the other 2 primary components of the trifecta that make up the committee- Oakhill Funeral Home and Memorial Park and the United Veterans Council and Wine Country Marines - we decided we would still host Memorial Day, but in a virtual setting.

Each of the 3 partners have our own role. Oakhill is the host and primary financial supporter, United Veterans Council is the liaison to the elected officials and Wine Country Marines are the liaison to the active duty military components and keynote speakers who are generally very senior Flag Officers.

Once the decision was made to go virtual, Wine Country Marines President James Brown contacted his associates at ABC News and pitched the idea. After much discussion, it was decided. If Wine Country Marines could muster up the military assets, ABC would cover the production of the event, and Wine Country Marines would direct it. UVC and Oakhill partnered in their usual role and coordinated all of the other assets such as historic vehicles, re-enactments, volunteers and Oakhill hosted at their park.

Wine Country Marines contacted BGen Thomas Savage to serve as keynote and he enthusiastically agreed. At the time of the conversations, BGen Savage was still on deployment in Afghanistan but was scheduled to return in time for the filming. ABC met him at Camp Pendleton upon his return and filmed him there.

The entire production was filmed as if the ceremony was actually taking place in front of the thousands of attendees and the end result was beautiful. Gold Star Parents were honored as were their fallen children. The Air Force Band of the Golden West provided all ceremonial music and a vocalist. Wounded Warrior Sgt Brian Jergens led the Pledge of Allegiance and raised the flag. Marines from 23rd Marine Regiment in San Bruno, Ca, performed the rifle volley, and the Color Guard was performed by the Marines of RS San Francisco. Sailors from Navy Recruiting District San Francisco and soldiers from the 63rd RSC provided wreath escorts.

Below are videos of the event and the original story by ABC can be viewed at this link.

BGen Thomas Savage, USMC

Memorial Day 2020 Ceremony

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