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Sonoma Valley to Commemorate Memorial Day with Tribute to Navy Captain Brett Crozier

Sonoma Valley to Commemorate Memorial Day with Tribute to Navy Captain Brett Crozier
Sonoma Valley to Commemorate Memorial Day

Festival Details - "Sonoma Valley to Commemorate Memorial Day with Tribute to Navy Captain Brett Crozier"...

Start: Monday, May 27, 2024 11:00AM
End: Monday, May 27, 2024 12:30PM

As Memorial Day approaches, the Sonoma Valley community prepares for a poignant tribute to honor the nation's fallen heroes. The 66th Sonoma Valley Joint Memorial Day Observance, scheduled for Monday, May 27th at 11:00 A.M. at the Sonoma Veterans Memorial Park, promises to be a moving commemoration of service and sacrifice.

Situated north of the plaza and adjacent to the Sonoma Veterans Memorial Hall, the park serves as a sacred space for local veterans, their families, and friends to pay homage to those who have served. This year marks the 19th anniversary of the unveiling of the Star of Honor fountain, symbolizing valor and remembrance.

Organized by the Sonoma Veterans Memorial Park Association, comprising local residents representing major veteran organizations in the Sonoma Valley, the event embodies the spirit of unity and gratitude and serves as a solemn occasion to honor the sacrifices of the past and celebrate the bravery and resilience of our nation's military veterans. Early arrival is recommended, as seating is limited, and attendees are advised to wear hats or sun visors for comfort during the ceremony.

The ceremony will open with a Grand March, inviting veterans to proudly don their military uniforms or appropriate attire. Veterans are requested to assemble beneath the flag of their respective armed forces branches at 10:30 A.M. in the parking lot.

This year's Guest of Honor and keynote speaker is retired U.S. Navy Captain Brett Crozier. A native of Santa Rosa, Captain Crozier gained national recognition for his bold decision to prioritize the health of his 5,000 Sailors over his career during the 2020 COVID-19 outbreak aboard his aircraft carrier. His courageous leadership and selfless dedication have left an indelible mark on the nation's military history.

A graduate of the United States Naval Academy, Captain Crozier's distinguished thirty-year career included flying combat missions as a Naval Aviator over Iraq and holding senior leadership positions. He was the Commanding Officer of an F/A-18 strike fighter squadron, the command ship USS Blue Ridge, and the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt. Since retiring in 2022, he has continued to serve as a nonprofit advisor focused on Veteran and Active-Duty issues, and as an executive with a financial software startup in the Bay Area. He is also the author of the book "Surf When You Can," published by Atria/Simon and Schuster in 2023.

The ceremony will feature musical performances by the Sonoma Hometown Band, under the direction of John Patridge, with narration by Butch Engle. The official Color Guard will be presented by Airmen from Travis U.S. Air Force Base, and the Rifle Salute detail will be provided by the local Veterans of Foreign Wars (Bear Flag Post 1943). The Civil Air Patrol Cadet Color Guard (Redwood Empire Composite Squadron 157) will also participate as a symbol of youthful dedication and patriotism.

Local vocalist Phil Sutsos will sing the "Star Spangled Banner" and "God Bless America," while bagpiper David Winter and bugler Therese Pasquale Hill will provide poignant musical interludes.

Carl "Chip" Allen, a local attorney and U.S. Naval Academy graduate who served as a U.S. Navy Submarine officer, will serve as Master of Ceremonies. The Invocation will be delivered by Gene Campagna, a local U.S. Army veteran of the Vietnam War, followed by a Benediction from Reverend Peadar A. Dalton, an active member of the Sonoma Valley Ministerial Association.
Parking lot attendants will be provided by the Native Sons of the Golden West (Parlor 111), and event ushers will be members of Temple Lodge No. 14 of Free and Accepted Masons in Sonoma. Yn’Reh Gibson, Miss Sonoma County 2024, and Lynna Xu, Miss Sonoma County Teen 2024, will lead The Pledge of Allegiance.

The ceremony will also feature a Memorial Day Tribute Poem by Olyn Hicks, a veteran of the U.S. Army during the Korean War, and a special Proclamation from John Gurney, the Mayor of the City of Sonoma.

Towards the beginning of the ceremony there will be a military Fly-Over by two Fairchild Republic A-10 Thunderbolt II "Warthog" aircraft from the 47th Fighter Squadron, 924 Fighter Group, Air Force Reserve Command from Davis–Monthan Air Force Base, Arizona. There will be a second Aerial Fly-Over towards the end of the ceremony by various military-inspired civilian aircraft, piloted by the Sonoma Sky Park Aviators. Both Fly-Overs will pay homage to all military aviators and airmen who have made the ultimate sacrifice in defense of our country. Both aerial tributes will also honor the legacy of 5-Star General Henry "Hap" H. Arnold, founder of the U.S. Air Force, who called the Sonoma Valley home following the Second World War.

Following the ceremony, the community is invited to the annual "All-American Picnic," which is complimentary to veterans and their families and friends, at the Veterans building.


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Sonoma Veterans Memorial Hall
126 1st St W
Sonoma, CA 95476
United States
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