Thousands attend Memorial Day Ceremony at Faces of Freedom
Number of local officials attended annual ceremony
– Several thousand patriots attended a Memorial Day Ceremony Monday morning at the Faces of Freedom Memorial in Atascadero. The event was produced by the Atascadero Veterans Memorial Foundation. The event included a flyover by the Estrella Warbirds. The Central Coast Pipes and Drums escorted the Cal Poly ROTC Color Guard. The Atascadero High School Choir sang the National anthem. Pastor Aaron Smith of Hope Lutheran Church gave the Invocation.
A number of local officials attended including San Luis Obispo County Supervisors Debbie Arnold and Bruce Gibson, and San Luis Obispo County District Attorney Dan Dow also joined the ceremony. Also attending were Atascadero Mayor Heather Moreno, Atascadero Mayor Pro Tem Susan Funk, and City Council Members Charles Bourbeau and Mark Daris.
Veterans were asked to stand and be recognized when the song for their branch of service was played. One new addition joined the musical medley. The Space Force joined the US Army, Marines, Navy Air Force, Coast Guard, and Merchant Marines.
Commander David Brooks was the guest speaker. Brooks became a Naval Aviator in 1954 and served the Navy in various capacities until he retired in June 1978. Brooks said he felt it was important that school teachers tell children about the sacrifices made by men and women who served their country.
In honor of Navy Lieutenant Commander Sherman Smoot, who died in a plane accident in September of last year, Sherm’s wife, Laurie Zonili-Smoot, and daughter Carly Smoot laid a wreath at the Faces of Freedom. Smoot served in Vietnam in the Navy. He was also a member of the Estrella Warbirds Museum and a pilot for Honor Flight.
The Joyous Voices for Jesus played TAPS with bells. The Central Coast Pipes and Drums performed Amazing Grace.