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Salute veterans on Memorial Day at Del Oro High

Placer Sheriff's helicopter to deliver flag for ceremony
By: Martha Garcia, Loomis News Staff Writer
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Monday, May 31, marks the 10th year that Del Oro High School will host the Memorial Day Celebration on the football field. “It starts at 9 a.m. sharp,” said Fuzzy Jarnagin, American Legion Post 775 commander. The ceremony to honor those in the military services who have died for, and serve, the country is a joint effort of the Legionnaires and Del Oro students. The program starts at the top of the hour, Jarnagin said, because at 9:02 the Sheriff’s Department helicopter will deliver a U.S. flag for the ceremony. An honor guard, led by Jase Pierce, will carry the flag from the helicopter for a flag-raising ceremony. Pierce, a corporal who has been in the Marine Corps since 2008, returned to Loomis in January after a five-month deployment in Iraq. In 2006, Pierce was one of the Del Oro students who helped organize the ceremony. The Memorial Day celebration, Pierce said, “is a huge part of our town and our high school.” “It helps the community,” he said, “thank all the soldiers who have fought and fallen and served their time for our country.” One veteran who appreciates the celebration is Gary Sypnicki, a Vietnam War veteran who was awarded a Purple Heart. “When I see Loomis having a celebration, like they do with the flag ceremony at Del Oro High School,” Sypnicki said, “it shows that the people in the Loomis area actually do care about the service guys and they’re doing all they can to show their appreciation.” Breanna Skeens, chairman of the leadership class project, organized this year’s program for Del Oro. Breanna said students will recite poems and songs they’ve written, as well as show their paintings of soldiers. New to this year’s ceremony, Jarnagin said, will be music by bagpiper Chuck Jamison. The flag will be lowered to half-mast as a Del Oro student and a Boy Scout play taps. Mike Schultz, American Legion chaplain, will make comments during closing ceremonies. The entire program, Jarnagin said, will last only one-half hour or less. At the ceremony’s end, refreshments will be served and the community will have a chance to visit and personally thank veterans for their contributions. Also following the program, Mike Neal, a volunteer with the Veterans History Project, will provide information and sign up veterans for the project. The VHP collects the memories, accounts and documents of all veterans. Veterans’ stories are interviewed on videotape that will be archived with the Library of Congress American Folklife Center.