It was delightful to see the sunshine pierce through majestic redwood trees at Roberts Park, Oakland Hills, on May 25, 2019 particularly since the rain a week earlier caused the memorial service to be postponed. Despite the absence of many of our regular attendees probably due to their already scheduled activities for the Memorial Day weekend, we still hosted enough interested and supportive “outsiders” to fill the service area. It was great to see several WW II and Korean War veterans in attendance.
Unfortunately, the uplifting sound of The Band of the West was absent this year due to their already committed performance elsewhere on this postponed day. However, the use electronic systems to compensate for the lack of live music saved the day as speakers hidden among the redwood branches surprised the audience with a selection of a medley of armed forces songs at the start and America the Beautiful for the final tribute to veterans who gave their lives to preserve America. We were fortunate to have our dedicated members of Berkeley Boy Scout 24 to perform military honors with posting and retiring of the colors. And, instead of the National Anthem being played by the band, Karen Bowen, our FFNV member, sang it beautifully.
Martin Snapp memorialized the 442nd Regimental Combat Teams (442nd RCT) and Franz Steidl spoke of the 75th anniversary of the Rescue of the Lost Battalion and liberation of Bruyeres, France, by the 442nd RCT. As always, Lawson Sakai, a veteran of the 442nd RCT, delivered an inspiring speech based on his experiences 75 years ago.
The weather continued to remain perfect for the picnic that followed.