Not surprisingly, Oakley Mayor Kevin Romick has been increasingly asked the question: when will Oakley host its own event honoring fallen soldiers?
That the time has finally come. Oakley will hold a Memorial Day Celebration on Saturday, May 26 at 10:30 a.m. in Oakley Civic Center Park, 3231 Main St.
A couple years ago, Romick was invited by Mayor Don Freitas to speak at Antioch’s Memorial Day observance. But his continuous recommendations to Oakley residents that they attend the Antioch event only increased Romick’s motivation to establish an event in Oakley.
“I just thought: maybe it’s time we had one here,” Romick said. “One thing led to another and I just said, ‘Why not?’”
Romick reached out to various veterans groups throughout East County and was surprised to discover how many Oakley residents have served in the military. In order to give the event a hometown feel, the mayor directed that all the participants in this year’s program come from Oakley. The observance will feature performances from the Freedom High School choir as well as local Boy and Girl Scouts leading the pledge of allegiance.
Denise Aragon, a local Gold Star Mom, will read a poem, and Oakley Purple Heart veteran Ronald Marquart will deliver the Memorial Day Address.
The Patriot Sentinel Riders, the Marine Corps League 335 and American Legion Post 161 will also participate in the event. Prior to the celebration, the Patriot Sentinel Riders will lead a motorcade into the park. Religious leaders from the local Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and the Ebenezer Community Church will also be on hand to honor the men and women who paid the ultimate price.
Romick, who has several family members with a history of service, will also deliver a speech about the importance of the day. He’s hoping to make this an annual tradition for Oakley residents to cherish.
“We try to make it an all-Oakley event,” Romick said. “This is the day where we honor those who were lost to all the wars.”