SELMA – The public is invited to attend the annual Avenue of Flags ceremony that starts at 10 a.m. on Memorial Day, Monday, May 27 at the Floral Memorial Cemetery, 2430 Floral Ave.
American Legion Post 12 started hosting the Avenue of Flags in 1984 where Selma High’s Marine Corps JROTC cadets place and remove the flags each year at the Selma Cemetery on Floral Avenue.
Currently, 520 United States flags are installed along the pathway of the grounds with the newly fallen placed at the center of the cemetery.
Memorial Day is a United States federal holiday for remembering and honoring persons who have died while serving in the United States Armed Forces. The holiday is observed every year on the last Monday of May. This year, it is May 27.
We asked Legion Commander Eliseo Zuniga some questions about the importance of the ceremony and here are his replies:
Q: Why do you think residents should attend the ceremony?
A: I believe that residents should attend the ceremony to help honor the brave men and women from our Valley who have given up their lives to keep us all safe. We tend to forget how lucky we are to live in our country, and the reason we are lucky is because of our military and what it does for us. Celebrating our fallen heroes one day out of the year is not enough, but it is a start. It shows support for those veterans who are living, and missing their fallen brothers and sisters so they know that when their time comes, they too will not be forgotten.
Q: Why is it important for young residents to realize what Memorial Day is about?
A: Our children are our future and in order for them to lead with gumption, they need to know about their past. Our fallen heroes are an excellent example of what a hero is and how these young residents can make a difference. I encourage parents/guardians to bring the young ones out and to experience something very moving and powerful. Allow us to show them what it looks like to support our community and those who have served.
Q: What does the ceremony entail? What does the public get to see?
A: Our Selma High MCJROTC raises the flags at 5 a.m. in order to be ready for the ceremony. The public will get to witness our MCJROTC standing proudly in front of the hundreds of flags honoring our fallen veterans. Throughout the ceremony there will be an opening prayer, presentation of the colors, the national anthem will be sung, taps will be played, a speaker will talk about Memorial Day, firing of the volleys will occur and it will end with a closing prayer. It is a very beautiful ceremony with much attention to detail placed in order to honor our fallen heroes proudly.
Q: What does this day mean to you and your family?
A: My family is very patriotic and this day means so much to us. I myself am a Marine Corps veteran. My son has reached his 13th year in the Marine Corps and has earned the rank of Gunnery Sergeant which we are incredibly proud of. And my son-in-law served in the Marine Corps and reached the rank of sergeant. You can definitely say that we are a proud military family.
All of us have lost too many brothers and sisters that we have served with and no matter how many years pass, it never gets easier. Memorial Day is a day to remember our brothers and sisters and to show them that as time goes on, we will continue to remember them and be thankful for what they did for our country and the impact they have on our lives.