As the Marine Corps League Color Guard and Rifle Squad presented the Colors, a large American flag was raised, followed by California's banner and a small black flag symbolizing those who are prisoners of war or missing in action.
Above the crowd, the Stars and Stripes fluttered magnificently in a stiff breeze against a cloudless azure sky with the flag posts of all six branches of the military (Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, Coast Guard and Merchant Marines) awaiting flags of their own below it.
The flag poles are just one of the veterans' elements on display at the 12-acre Balfour Road park, elements spearheaded by Park & Recreation Chair and veteran Ernie Rodrigues. The other are six near-white rectangular granite columns at the base of each military branch's flagpost joined with a polished black granite sheet inscribed with the tribute, "This park is dedicated to the past, present and future members of the armed forces of the United States of America." Each column displays the seal of its respective service branch and at the rear of the columns is an arch of Veterans Roses.
"This man has put a great deal of hard work and a lot of his heart into this park," Park & Recreation Commissioner Jan Melloni told the crowd of veterans, residents and dignitaries attending the dedication.
Rodrigues credited the four major local veterans groups - Veterans of Foreign Wars, American Legion, Delta Marine Detachment and Summerset Veterans - along with lots of support from Brentwood's City Council for making the memorials possible.
Taking the stage, the Summerset Singers set the mood with a medley of George M. Cohan patriotic songs, followed by an opening prayer given by Delta Marine Detachment Chaplain Dr. Leslie Harrold.
Dignitaries such as Vice Mayor Ana Gutierrez and Senator Tom Torlakson spoke to the crowd, praising veterans for their service.
Gutierrez, a high school teacher, spoke of some of her students that had gone on to serve in Iraq. Torlakson expressed gratitude for being part of the dedication "that will always be a tribute to the veterans who died serving our nation and those who serve even now."
As the East Contra Costa Concert Band took the stage, filling the air with patriotic songs, the six service flags were hoisted up their poles one by one, each by a member of its respective branch.
The rifle squad then took aim with their World War II M-1 Garand rifles, firing three shots into the air as two buglers rang out a rendition of "Taps," recognizing those who had made the ultimate sacrifice for their country.
n time the city, with help from local veterans organizations, will complete a memorial garden at the rear of the park, where bricks inscribed with veterans' names will be laid.