Just this week I was driving by Dell Oso Farms on my way to a beach shoot. I saw on the side of the freeway… rows… and rows of crosses. Jared and I brought the kids back last week. We soaked in the waving American Flags with the state flags. And then we paused at the memorial.I had the honor of talking with Mike Dillman, the creator of this memorial and Venteran’s support movement in our area. He was a combat vet from Vietnam and has a passion for serving our country’s veterans well. Share their legacy and sacrifice with our community! And what a reminder this memorial is. There are 7,000 crosses as a memorial of the ultimate sacrifice our nations’ soldiers have made. On the semi there were smaller photos of the 750 men and women who have died since 911 fighting the war on terror. Then on the ground as we walked closer we were seeing the names, ages, faces, and local cities of heroes who paid with their life for our freedom within a 50 mile area. Mike reminded me of Pat Tillman’s story of walking away from a NFL career to fight for our country and died for his country… for our freedom.
Mike Dillman was telling me more about what this weekend has in store. He invited our family and wanted me to extend the invite to our local community to experience the California Traveling Tribute at the VFW Pictorial Memorial. It pays tribute to 750 men and women from California. He said it included handwritten notes attached to windows that you can read through the impact this has had. This tribute will be available Friday, May 26th- Monday, May31st. He also invited veterans to meal on Monday 11-4.
I love learning about people in their passion and serving our local community well. While this tribute is centered around memorial weekend Mike works hard with the Not Forgotten non-profit who provides funding for veterans in transition home. Not Forgotten annually gives around $200,000 to local heroes within 50 miles from Manteca.
They are already planning for 2018 Memorial Weekend and you can check out thememorialweekend.com for more information.
For our little family it’s important to take this all in and start that kid-sized conversation about our freedom and the world around us. We took our crew and looked through all of the crosses. It’s humbling. We talked through what each of those crosses represented someone who died fighting for our country. Each one represented someone’s child, parent, sibling, and friend. They sacrificed so much for us to have the freedom that we have.
We are grateful! And that sacrifice is not lost on us!We paused as Rhi read this sign…
We are thankful for our freedom of religion
freedom of the press
freedom of speech
freedom to assemble
right to a fair trial
right to vote…
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