Valley families pack Memorial Day services

FRESNO, Calif.

A sea of US flags waving in the wind greeted visitors to Fresno Memorial Gardens. Families gathered like they do every year to pay tribute to fallen American warriors - those who were killed in action.

Staff Sgt. Robert Espinoza of the US Army said, "It's a good day because I can reflect on all the good things, positive things but it's sad for me too because of all the friends I've lost."

The recently retired Sgt. Espinoza was the keynote speaker for the event. He wanted to make sure the younger generation knew what Memorial Day stood for. "As a soldier you always want peace first but you always are willing to defend this country and the people in this country. You hate oppression."

The somber ceremony was steeped in tradition with all the of the armed services honored. Colonel Juan Cedillo is a veteran of the "Battle of the Bulge," which began in December of 1944.

Aaron Taylor of Fresno worked in us naval intelligence. He said, "Memorial Day has always been special to me. Should be to any veteran and I'm sure it is. It was good. I enjoyed it and I'm proud I did serve."

Music added to the moving ceremony. Vietnam veteran Ray Ramos explained, "For me every day is memorial day because a day doesn't go by unless I think about Vietnam and the guys who passed away and I always think about them."

The bugle Ramos played held special meaning. "This bugle is a captive horn from Vietnam. I got it in 1967. I found a Viet cong soldier was laying on top of it. It was a furious battle."

The avenue of flags led visitors to the Memorial Day service.1,400 American flags flew in honor of veterans past and present.

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