“Some Gave All”
A Soldier Comes Home
Today April 25, 2007 Pfc. Steven Joseph Walberg-Riotto was laid
to rest on a beautiful hill top in Magalia’s Skyway Memorial Park.
The Services were held at the Gold domed Neighborhood Church, a
church I helped build back in 1980. I was proud to build a church
and I made good money and went on to other jobs, today I felt good
that they put on such a beautiful service there. Pfc. Steven, 18
years old was honored with a full Military Funeral along with a
very well done service by Pastor Roger Altizer, who watched young
Steven grow up to become a man in The Father’s House Church. Knowing
Steven as well as he did you could tell it was very emotional at
the start. But as the service went on Pastor Altizer made you feel
as if you knew the young man yourself. He was a very mischievous,
strong willed boy, who from a very early age wanted to be a soldier.
And become a Soldier he did, dedicated to duty and country, he volunteered
to travel with officers as their protection. Coming under sniper
fire he immediately took position and engaged the enemy. In doing
so he drew their fire and died doing his job. His family was awarded
in his honor, among other medals, the Purple Heart, the Army Commendation
Medal and the Bronze Star. After the service at the church we proceeded
up the hill to Magalia in a procession that was at least a mile
long. With Highway patrol (front, back and in between) we went non-stop
all the way (I’ve never run stop lights before but this day I made
up for it.) At every intersection there were sheriff, Police, firemen
etc to give us the right of way. All along the way, especially as
we entered Paradise and through Magalia, there would be groups of
people standing along the road, many with their hand over their
heart. If Military, Police, Fireman etc at attention. And as I was
at the end of the procession I’m sure they did this for the whole
line of cars. In this long line of cars was about 50 or more motor
cycles with large American Flags. After the service I asked one
who they were and he said they were from all over Northern California.
He was from Redding. I learned later they are called the Patriot
Guard Riders. They go to pay respect and make sure all goes well
at Military Funerals. At the end of the service, the Pastor said
this concludes the service, but it was quite sometime before anyone
started for their cars. I looked up and there was a ring or Halo
around the Sun. Now I know this happens but could this one have
had more meaning, not just a coincidence, you be the judge.
May 1, last Tuesday was the day to honor our loyalty to America.
Bob and Sherry Morehouse invited Lynn and I to the Veterans Hall
for lunch and a ceremony to honor Loyalty Day. The event was led
by District 18 Senior Vice President John Bump of the Veterans of
Foreign War. District 18 includes VFW Posts in a 40 mile radius
of Oroville. Sam Bebout, Oroville Veterans Memorial Park committee
Member and Commander of Post 1747 VFW and a Korea War Veteran gave
the meaning of Loyalty Day. Here is some of what he said “Communists
believed May 1st belonged to them in celebration of the
1917 Russian Revolution. VFW believed otherwise, as a counter to
the communist day of commemoration VFW launched ‘Americanization
Day’ on April 27- President U. S. Grant’s Birthday- in 1921. A decade
later the organization was no longer willing to grant the Reds their
special day; on May 1, 1930, 10,000 VFW member turned out in New
York’s Union Square to stage a massive rally to promote Patriotism.
Rallies were held every year there after across the nation. In 1949,
a resolution was adopted calling for federal recognition of May
1st as Loyalty Day. Observance in 1930 began on April
28 and climaxed on May 1st. With parades across the nation
by an estimated 5 million people. In New York city 100,000 people
marched down Fifth Avenue in a cold rain watched by cheering spectators.
The reviewing stand included commander in Chief Clyde A Lewis, Mayor
William O’Dwyer, Secretary of Labor Maurice J. Tobin, and Broadway
star Ethel “Miss Loyalty” Merman. It was truly an All American Parade.
The line of march included Civic and religious groups foreign language
units in National Costumes, fraternal organizations, patriotic groups,
labor representatives, massed colors of Old Glory were carried by
Marchers ranging in age from tots to aged Spanish American War Veterans.
In 1955 .Rep. Jimmy Van Zandt of Pennsylvania, three times VFW Chief
introduced a bill proclaiming May 1 as Loyalty Day. Congress passed
it. In 1958 congress enacted Public Law 529 proclaiming Loyalty
day a permanent feature on The Nations Calendar. President Dwight
D. Eisenhower signed it July 18, that year. The popularity of Loyalty
Day declined within a decade, “By the late 1960’s the Political
ramifications of the unpopular Vietnam War had seriously affected
the Loyalty Day Parades. Loyalty Day Parades, how ever continue
today in VFW realms. But on a far smaller scale that in the glory
days of the 1950’s.
At the Lunch two young ladies were asked to read their winning essays.
Christine Thao read her essay on Citizenship. Her mother and father,
Richard and Debbie Thao, moved here from Laos. Christine is a student
of Palermo Middle School. Next Hannah Noel Bergen, a Senior at Corning
High School and Freshman to be at U.C. Santa Cruz read her winning
essay on Freedom as a Corner Stone in our Society.
Supervisor Bill Connelly read a proclamation from Butte County Board
of Supervisors proclaiming May 1, 2007 as Loyalty Day. Stan Rinehart
read a proclamation from the City of Oroville, Signed by Mayor Steve
Jernigan. VETERANS MEMORIAL COMMITTEE SPAGHETTI DINNER AND DANCE
Friday, May 4th, 2007. Dinner from 5-8 and dance begins
at 8p.m. JIM HALSEY and the NIGHTHAWKS will be playing at the Dance.
Come and join us for good food, drawings and no host bar. At the
Oroville Veterans Memorial Hall 2374 Montgomery St. Donation $10,
Children under 10 free. Need not be present to win prizes. For tickets
Call Stu 533-8147 or Supervisor Bill Connelly’s office at 538-6834
We hope you can come and enjoy good food and great entertainment