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They died for us

Before firing up the barbecue for traditional Memorial Day picnics, residents gathered at two different memorial services in Nevada City and Grass Valley on Monday morning to commemorate members of the armed forces who died in military service.

At Pioneer Park in Nevada City, Boy Scout Stephen Cobbe dedicated his plaque to those who lost their lives during the war on terror, calling it a “monument to outlast all of us here today.”

The plaque is meant to provide the community with a local memorial for soldiers serving in conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan, whom Cobbe thanked for “holding true to a sense of commitment and purpose” as the war continues.



Cobbe organized the plaque dedication as part of his service project for his Eagle Scout ranking.

The War on Terror plaque lists the names of three local soldiers who have fallen in Iraq: Marine Lance Cpl. Adam Strain, Marine Lance Cpl. John Lucente and Marine 1st. Lt. Nathan Krissof.




At Grass Valley Memorial Park, a crowd of about 500 gathered to hear speeches from veterans’ organizations and local community leaders.

“It’s always an honor to hear people speak,” said retired Marine 1st Sgt. Bob Espinosa of Penn Valley, who attends Memorial Day services every year.

The crowd sang along with the Cornish Men’s Choir as they struck up patriotic standbys such as “God Bless America.”

Marine Sgt. Nicholas Ornelas gave the keynote speech. Ornelas, who has completed two tours of duty in Iraq, took over the position of Marine recruiter in Grass Valley.

Ornelas started his speech by thanking all soldiers who gave their lives for their country and reminding the audience that he was just one of a long tradition of service members.

“They have come before me; they will come after me,” he said.

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To contact Staff Writer Jill Bauerle, e-mail jillb@theunion.com or call 477-4219.


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