Memorial Day flyover nixed by budget cuts

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Monday is Memorial Day.  A time to remember men and women in the armed forces who have made the ultimate sacrifice for our country.

Across the country because of budget problems there will be an element missing.

It is one of the most moving parts of the Memorial Day ceremony at Punchbowl. It is the missing man formation.  This year the missing man formation will be missing.

According to Gene Castagnetti, the director of the National Cemetery of the Pacific at Punchbowl on Sunday there will be an alternate tribute.

“We have a civilian pilot and he’s Lt. Commander Harry Green of the Coast Guard who’s going to fly a civilian aircraft at the Vietnam vigil,” said Castagnetti.

That’s just part of Memorial Day weekend.  On Saturday, there will be a Korean medal of honor ceremony.

On Sunday, there will be a roll call of honor sponsored by the American Pacific Foundation and then at 5:30 Sunday, Rolling Thunder pulls in to pay tribute to Vietnam War troops.

“Then at one o’clock, as tradition has had it, we’ll have about 2,500 Boy Scouts here,” Castagnetti said. “They do their good turn day.  And before they go out and place flags on our 35,000 graves, they’re giving a little bit of an education as to how Memorial Day started.”

The ceremonies on Saturday, Sunday and Monday morning have deep meaning.

“Symbolizing that America never leaves its war dead on the battlefield, we never forget those who were taken as prisoner of war, and we will never stop remembering the service and sacrifice that the American serviceman has made the last full measure of devotion to keep this nation free,” shared Castagnetti.

Lei to be placed on grave sites will still be accepted at the cemetery until Sunday afternoon.

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