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Memorial Day events in Sonoma County and beyond

Flags will be raised this weekend across the North Coast as veterans groups prepare for Memorial Day.

"Memorial Day gives us cause to pause and reflect on the sacrifice of those who have died in service to our nation," said Chris Bingham, Sonoma County's Veterans Service Officer. "We reflect upon hopes and dreams unfulfilled, tears shed by families and friends, (and) lives forever altered by the fate of war."

Guest speakers at local ceremonies will include former Secretary of the Army Dr. Francis J. Harvey in Sonoma, John Logan of the Military Order of the Purple Heart in Santa Rosa and Sonoma County Supervisor David Rabbitt in Petaluma.

Out at Point Reyes, the U.S. Coast Guard and the National Park Service will host a ceremony honoring the men of the U.S. Life Saving Service. The Service was the precursor to the Coast Guard, and is the only Memorial Day ceremony hosted by the Coast Guard on the West Coast, said Lt. Tom Maxson.

"It's quite a story," said Maxson of the five servicemen buried at the historic cemetery on the point. "They were all immigrants and no money was available to inter them so a local farmer donated some land next to his family's cemetery."

Memorial Day events slated for Monday include:

SANTA ROSA: 10 a.m. Santa Rosa Memorial Park, 1900 Franklin Ave. The 42nd annual Avenue of the Flags featuring 1,000 flags that will be raised at 6 a.m. and lowered at 3:30 p.m.

The Marine Corps League honor guard and rifle squad will be present, and music will be performed by the Redwood Chordsmen. The ceremony will also include the dedication of a Gold Star bench, a wreath laying, a rifle salute and the playing of taps.

Guest speakers will be Logan, as well as Karen Reyburn, the sister of airman Kurt MacDonald, who went missing in action in Vietnam and was never found.

The ceremony will be followed by a hot dog barbecue, where historic military vehicles will be on display.


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