“Today is a day for reflection, remembrance and appreciation,” Ret. Lt. Col. U.S. Air Force Tony Marshall, a Purple Heart recipient who served 22 years, said to the crowd who gathered at Rialto Park Cemetery Monday morning where the city held its annual Memorial Day tribute that honored veterans past and present for their sacrifice and service.
The reverent service included the presentation of colors by Rialto High School NJROTC, “The Star Spangled Banner” sang by Inland Empire Chorus, the lowering and raising of the flag, honorary speakers, a beautiful rendition of “God Bless America” by Rialto’s songstress Faye Coates, the folding and presentation of the flag to four selected recipients.
“Memorial Day is a special day, it grew out of grief and tragedy,” exclaimed Ret. Lt. Col. U.S. Army James Michael Yates, one of the guest speakers. “Those we honor, they have given the ultimate sacrifice.”
A 21-gun salute, conducted by the Riverside Army Recruiting Company, punctuated the occasion, as well as the presentation of the American flag to four community members – Yates, Robert DeJean, Frank Mathy and Gil Garza.
Following the ceremony a picnic lunch catered by El Pollo Dorado brought enough food to feed 500 people, and for dessert Mommie Helen’s Bakery served their famous peach cobbler.