The Sonoma Valley Joint Memorial Day Observance will be held at 11 a.m. Monday, May 28.
This year marks the 60th time this annual hometown event has taken place. The location will once again be the Sonoma Veterans Memorial Park located north of the Plaza and adjacent to the Sonoma Valley Veterans Memorial Hall. All veterans are invited to wear their military uniforms (or appropriate attire) and participate in the Grand March at the opening of the ceremony. Veterans who want to participate in this Grand March are requested to muster at 10:30 a.m. beneath the flag of their particular branch of the armed forces in the parking lot.
The guest of honor and keynote speaker is retired U.S. Army Maj. Gen. Kent Hillhouse, who served as the Deputy G-1 on the Army staff at the Pentagon from 1996 – 2001 prior to his retirement from active duty.
The master of ceremonies will be local attorney Carl “Chip” H. Allen who is a former U.S. Navy Polaris submarine officer and a 1965 graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy at Annapolis, Maryland.
To honor the memory of five-star Gen. Henry “Hap” H. Arnold, who founded the U.S. Air Force and made the Sonoma Valley his home following World War II, the ceremony will conclude with an aerial fly-over consisting of various military-inspired civilian aircraft flown by the Sonoma Skypark Aviators.
Immediately following the ceremony, the “Rotary Club of Sonoma Valley and the Rotary Club of Sonoma Sunrise: All-American Picnic” will be served free of charge at the Veterans Building.
Although the picnic is complimentary to veterans and their families and friends, a “Star of Honor” pledge drive will take place during the picnic for donations needed to maintain and improve the Sonoma Veterans Memorial Park and assist toward the expense of applying the names of local deceased veterans to the Star of Honor.