Memorial Day event

Retired Air Force Maj. Fran McClendon poses with members of the Archer-Ragsdale Arizona Chapter of Tuskegee Airmen as they and The Commemorative Air Force Airbase Arizona Museum hosted a Congressional Gold Medal Recognition ceremony last week for Army Cpl. Lydia Thornton and retired Air Force Maj. Fran McClendon, members of the 6888th Central Directory Postal Battalion during World War II. (David Minton/Tribune Staff Photographer)

Army Staff Sgt. Jose Regalado would have been 37 this year but he was killed in action Nov. 12, 2008, while serving in Mosul, Iraq.

Operation Iraqi Freedom was launched in March 2003 under then-President George W. Bush with the mission of getting rid of Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein. By the time, the war ended in August 2010, 4,419 servicemen and women were killed while another 31,994 were wounded.

Regalado was 23 when he died, leaving behind an infant daughter and his wife, Sharri Detharidge of Mesa.

Detharidge is the guest speaker for a Memorial Day event, 8:30 a.m., tomorrow, May 30 at Park University, 92 W. Vaughn Ave., Gilbert, – one of several in and around the town honoring fallen warriors. 

She also is the president of the Caregiver Project, a nonprofit dedicated to ensuring that Gold, Silver, White, and Blue Star families are never forgotten by sharing their stories. The group also curates custom care packages for families of fallen service members.

The Morning of Remembrance event is sponsored by HD South—Home of the Gilbert Historical Museum, the Town’s Veteran’s Advisory Board, the Town of Gilbert, and American Legion Post 39. 

The event will include a flag and wreath ceremony, the battlefield cross, the POW/MIA table, performance by a local area band, and remarks from local Gilbert dignitaries, including Mayor Brigette Peterson.

The event is free and open to the public. Guests are encouraged to bring their own lawn chair for seating. 

The Gilbert Historical Museum will be open for free following the event from 10 a.m.-2 p.m.

Memorial Day is also the last day to see the 17th annual Art of Quilting show at HD South. For more information, call 480-926-1577.

Meanwhile, Gilbert Memorial Park Cemetery and Funeral Home, 2100 East Queen Creek Road will host a Memorial Day fundraiser to benefit the Pat Tillman Foundation.

Memorial markers on veterans’ graves will be cleaned and flags placed on their graves from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Hot dogs and ice cream will be served from 10:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. and there is a coloring contest for kids under 12 with cash prizes.

Mountain View Funeral Home and Cemetery, 7900 E, Main St., Mesa, is collecting hygiene items for unsheltered military veterans now through Memorial Day.

Arizona was one of a handful of states where the number of veterans in homeless shelters increased during the first year of the pandemic, according to a congressional report. 

The number of veterans increased by 10% in Arizona between January 2020 and January 2021 and decreased nationally, according to the US Department of Housing and Urban Development’s 2021 Annual Homeless Assessment Report to Congress. 

People can drop off toothpaste, toothbrushes, deodorant, lotion, shaving cream, razors, shampoo, conditioner, combs, brushes, soap, sunscreen, first aid kits, lip balm, wash cloths, loofahs, flip flops, baseball caps, and similar items at the facility.

The drive officially ends on Memorial Day when Mountain View holds its annual Memorial Day Ceremony 9-10:30 a.m. May 30. Coffee and donuts are served to the public while live entertainment plays and the crowd honors local heroes.

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