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Nearly 150 Years of Memorial Day Remembrance in Santa Cruz

blog memorialdayMuseum of Art & HIstory presents the 146th annual Memorial Day Remembrance

Each step of the American flag’s official “13-fold” ceremony, which is practiced annually during Santa Cruz’s long standing Memorial Day Remembrance celebration in Evergreen Cemetery, holds its own historical and symbolic significance.

The first, second, and third folds symbolize life, belief in eternal life, and remembrance for departed veterans who served to defend the United States, according to The American Legion. When the flag is completely folded, it resembles a cocked hat, meant to remind people of the soldiers who served under Gen. George Washington, before he became the first president of the United States.

“The ceremony is not just a folding, there’s a lot of meaning and depth that goes behind it,” says Chuck Woodson, a Vietnam Special Forces veteran and former president of the United Veteran’s Council of Santa Cruz County.

Woodson will read aloud the symbolic elements of each fold during the celebration, to be held in the Grand Army of the Republic plot of the cemetery on Monday, May 27 at 11 a.m. It will be Santa Cruz’s 146th annual Memorial Day Remembrance. The day’s event will also feature a flag raising ceremony, musical tributes, a rifle salute, and a city greeting from Vice Mayor Lynn Robinson.

Nina Simon, executive director of the Museum of Art & History, which owns the historical cemetery property and helps with its upkeep, will welcome the community as the Master of Ceremony. Donald Bradley, a retired chief deputy of the County Sheriff’s Office, will deliver the keynote address, and ninth-grader Sophie McCallum-Spalaris will recite the Gettysburg Address.

Woodson, an event organizer, says local veteran groups have joined with the MAH to help care for the cemetery grounds and make Memorial Day a great experience for the community.

“We try to make it very official, and show our reverence,” he says. “It’s very meaningful and we’re all proud of it.”

Following the hour-long event, the United Veteran’s Council, Veterans of Foreign Wars post from Aptos, and the local nonprofit Veterans of Foreign Wars will host a barbecue luncheon at The Santa Cruz Portuguese Hall, 216 Evergreen St., Santa Cruz. Entry is $5 per person.

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