Dinuba Vietnam vets build crosses for Memorial Day

Group plans to distribute 200 crosses at Smith Mountain Cemetery ceremony to honor fallen veterans

Dinuba’s Smith Mountain Cemetery to host Annual Memorial Day Celebration May 27th. (Kenny Goodman)
Dinuba’s Smith Mountain Cemetery to host Annual Memorial Day Celebration May 27th. (Kenny Goodman)
Mid Valley Times Staff
Published April 30, 2024  • 
12:30 pm

DINUBA – Amidst preparations for Memorial Day, the Vietnam Veterans of America Chapter 643 in Dinuba is rallying to create 200 white crosses for the graves of veterans at Smith Mountain Cemetery.

Orosi resident and chapter member George Madrid said the group has already made 120 crosses.

“I’ve already purchased the paint,” said Madrid. “(We’re) going to have a paint party on the weekend of May 3. We hope to get an Orosi school club to help along with some veterans.”

Madrid said each cross will bear a gold star marking. He added that the cemetery contacted the veterans group because many of the existing 700 crosses are deteriorating due to age.

Chapter 643 hosted a Veterans Day ceremony last November at the cemetery. The ceremony included speeches from community members, a 21-gun salute and music provided by the Dinuba High School Madrigals.

The Memorial Day ceremony takes place on May 27 at 10 a.m.

MEMORIAL DAY EVENTS

Next town over in Reedley, the American Legion Post is hosting a ceremony at Reedley Cemetery at 9 a.m. This year’s keynote speaker is Pastor Jeff Wheeland, who served as Captain for the 983rd Combat Heavy Engineer Battalion, Army Chaplain.

For the community of Kingsburg, the American Legion Post 191, its auxiliary and the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) is hosting an event at the Kingsburg Cemetery at 9 a.m. The VWF Honor Guard will be on hand. The Kingsburg High School Jazz Band will perform patriotic songs and play taps.

In the city of Visalia, on May 25 the American Legion Posts 18 and 785 – together with Visalia Avenue of Flags Association and along with volunteers – will place over 4,000 small grave marker flags and 2,400 casket graves in Visalia Cemetery. On Memorial Day, events kick off at 7 a.m. The Association will hold a large ceremony at 10 a.m.

In the town of Selma, the American Legion Post 12 will host a ceremony at 10 a.m. at Selma Cemetery. Congressman Jim Costa is a featured speaker. Events will include the laying of a wreath at the flagpole, recognition of Medal of Honor winner and World War II veteran William R. Shockley, a 21-gun salute and the playing of taps. 

While no event is planned for Parlier Cemetery, officials say park personnel will place American flags on the graves and headstones of veterans.

Mid Valley Times Staff