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May 4, 2007

“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.

Loyalty Day
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