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American River Messenger

Fair Oaks Honors Fallen Heroes

Jun 04, 2024 10:31AM ● By Elizabeth Ruygt

Boy Scouts of America Troop 380 on March 25 presents the colors for the raising of the flag donated by U.S. Representative Ami Bera, M.D. Courtesy photo

FAIR OAKS, CA (MPG) - The 26th annual Memorial Day ceremony at the Fair Oaks Cemetery on Olive Street had an overflowing crowd honoring the country’s fallen heroes on May 25.

The ceremony started off with bagpipers marching through the cemetery with the Avenue of Flags fluttering in the light breeze and every veteran's grave with a cross or Star of David topped with an American flag on it.

The 26th annual Memorial Day ceremony May 25 at the Fair Oaks Cemetery had an overflowing crowd. In the front row are event Chairperson Elizabeth Ruygt, guest speaker Lily Rodriguez and State Sen. Roger Niello. In the back row are Matt Ceccato (U.S. Representative Ami Bera’s Deputy Chief of Staff), Supervisor Rich Desmond and Fair Oaks Cemetery District Chairperson Pete Schroeder. Courtesy photo

Fair Oaks Cemetery District Chairperson Pete Schroeder welcomed the attendees.

Mark Rice provided the invocation and benediction.

Soloist Anne Peter added to the ceremony, inviting the audience to sing along with her.

Dignitaries speaking for a few minutes were Deputy Chief of Staff Matt Ceccato representing U.S. Representative Ami Bera, M.D.; State Sen. Roger Niello; and Sacramento County Supervisor Rich Desmond.

Guest speaker Lily Rodriguez, a Troop 380 Eagle Scout, spoke on the ceremony's theme, “Women in a Time of War from the American Revolution to World War II,” highlighting the contributions women made before they were allowed to be combat soldiers.

Boy Scouts of America Troop 380 members did a memorable flag ceremony as they retired the current flag flying on the Memorial Monument. The Scouts replaced it with a flag that had flown over the nation’s Capitol donated by Bera as "Taps" were played and the bagpipers and drummer played “Amazing Grace.”

The ceremony ended with a laying of the wreath honoring those who sacrificed their lives for citizens’ freedoms. After the service, attendees enjoyed homemade cookies, ice cream, fruit cups and lemonade served by Barbara Roper and her volunteers. 

American Legion 383 Auxiliary members, as they do every Memorial Day ceremony, handed out poppies and explained to children and others that the poppy is a reminder of the sacrifices so many have made to keep this country free. The poem, “Flanders Field,” is the inspiration for this practice.

Elizabeth Ruygt is the 26th annual Memorial Day ceremony chairperson.