San Francisco salutes American armed service veterans
on Memorial Day
By Pat Murphy
May 29, 2006, 4:00 p.m.
San Francisco today gave her 138th annual salute to this nation's
sons and daughters lost to foreign conflict and the American Civil
The four branches of the United States Armed services were represented
by 1,500 veterans and extended family for a Presido march culminating
in speeches of honor within its world known cemetery.
Each of the 15,000 graves bore an American flag along rolling
Presidio slopes, each animated by quiet Spring breeze and clear
Major General Bruce Zukauskas represented the active military,
Mayor Gavin Newsom and Supervisor Fiona Ma represented the City,
and the Pleasanton Community Concert Band represented the mood.
Supervisor Fiona Ma
Zukauskas, commander of the United States Air Reserve, linked
a parallel of sacrifice between the American Civil War and The
president day Iraq War.
"On the bloody battlfields of the Civil War the American
soldier fought to save the Union and to promote human dignity,"
"From the trenches in Europe during the Great War the American
soldier fought in a war we hoped would end the world wars.
"In a generation later the American men were against sent
oversees and in World War II we saw them fight and die in the
battlefields of Europe and Asia to preserve liberty.
"During the conflicts in Korea and Vietnam American servicemen
once again spilled their blood fighting the threat of communism.
"And now when the 21st Century has dawned American service
men and women once again are called to arms to defeat an emeny
that attacked our homeland that has changed our nation forever.
"One cannot helped but to be deeply moved standing here
in the presence of these fallen heroes. Many were only 18 and
19-years-old when they died far from home in service of our country.
"We pledge never to forget.
"We must also never forget the MIAs, those missing in action,
whose final resting places are known but to God.
"Today in 2006 we are our service men and women are fighting
and dying for the ideals our nation holds so dear. Over 2,700
have died in the current war.
"It's been said for a nation to be successful the citizens
of that nation must be willing to serve.
"In our nation we are still able to call upon our sons and
daughters to go into harm's way to protect us and to defend our
way of life.
"Our most potent weapon, without a doubt, are our brave
men and women in uniform.
"It is vitally important for the American people to continue
to support our service members by honoring their service and welcoming
them home," stated Zukauskas.
This generation had not known war until 9/11 in the way Gold
Star Moms, mothers of deceased service members, knew war, Supervisor
"Today we are able to pursue a good life because of the
sacrifices of the men and women who have fallen defending our
freedom and our way of life," Ma said.
"I'm honored to be here to pay homage and respect to the
surviviors and the families of the men and women whose lives were
taken in the defense of democracy.
"I'm especially thankful to the Gold Start Moms, the mothers
who have lost their sons and daughters on the battlefields, and
to all who survived war - the veterans of our Armed Services,
I say thank you.
"Unitil 9/11 this generation had never seen war the way
"Now we share a common experience, not from the battlefield,
but from a position of supporting our troops and we must support
our troops and the Blue Star Moms whose sons and daughters are
in harm's way every day.
"We are with you and your families every hoping for the
safe of your loved ones. Thank you all for coming out and God