Bmemorial.jpgay Area residents today honored veterans with several Memorial Day ceremonies at cemeteries and other locations around the region.

This morning, the 144th Memorial Day Ceremony took place at the San Francisco National Cemetery.

The event, which included guest speakers and musical performances, focused on the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II and the end of the war in Iraq.

The event was also dedicated to Renie Champagne, a veteran who led the Presidio’s Memorial Day celebration for the past four decades before passing away during last year’s Memorial Day weekend.

The city of San Mateo held its 71st annual Memorial Day Observance to honor fallen heroes at the Golden Gate National Cemetery in San Bruno. The event began around 10:30 a.m. and featured military speakers and musical performances.

Redwood City held an especially festive Memorial Day event at the Historic Union Cemetery on Woodside Road, where event organizers planned a colorful ceremony that included the reenactment of a Gold Rush-era event called the “firing of the anvil,” in which gun powder and a wick is placed between two anvils, then lit.

Oakland hosted a traditional placing of the wreath, a 21-gun-salute and a dove release at Mountain View Cemetery at 10 a.m. this morning. Tours of the refurbished Civil War Plot followed the ceremony.

For its ceremony, Walnut Creek invited its keynote speakers, retired Tech Sgt. Bob Tharratt and retired Sgt. Dick Ingraham, to talk about when a regiment of Ingraham’s infantry division liberated Tharratt and other prisoners of war. The event began at 10 a.m. in Civic Park and included a traditional laying of the wreaths and musical performances.

Around 1 p.m., an event honoring veterans began on the USS Hornet, which is currently docked at Pier 3 in Alameda. Musical performances and speeches by Navy officials were planned, as well as tours of the ship that are open to the public until 4 p.m.

The National Park Service and the U.S. Coast Guard came together for a 2 p.m. commemorative service at the Historic Life Saving Cemetery in Point Reyes National Seashore, the location of graves of four surfmen who died while patrolling the area in the early 1890s.

A Memorial Day vigil will also be held at 7 p.m. at the corner of Deer Hill and Oak Hill roads, across from the Lafayette BART station. The event will be dedicated to those who lost their lives in the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, according to organizers.

Breena Kerr, Bay City News

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