Archive for the ‘Military & Veterans’ Category

Antioch honors veterans with annual ceremony, parade

Monday, November 14th, 2022

Joined by past Antioch Veterans of the Year and a representative from Congressman Mark DeSaulnier’s office, Autrey James (center) and Pat Jeremy (right) were honored as 2022-23 Antioch Veterans of Year during the annual Veterans Day ceremony on Friday, Nov. 11, 2022. Photos by Allen D. Payton

Veterans of the Year announced

By Allen D. Payton

On Veterans Day, Friday, Nov. 11, 2022, Antioch veterans were honored during a ceremony in which the Veterans of the Year were named and the 25th anniversary of the Veterans Memorial monument was celebrated, followed by the parade down W. Second Street. The ceremony also featured speeches by U.S. Coast Guard veteran, Autrey James, the past Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of the Board of Directors for the American Legion, Department of California, and student speakers, Bryce West of Belshaw Elementary and Oghenerun’or Pinnock of Deer Valley High.

Organized by the Delta Veterans Group and led by J.R. Wilson and Velma Wilson, the ceremony began with an opening prayer by Father Robert Rien of St. Ignatius Catholic Church, then the Antioch Police Department Honor Guard provided the Presentation of the Colors and the Raising of the American Flag in the center of the Veterans Memorial at the foot of L Street. The Pledge of Allegiance was then led by Matthew Wilson followed by the singing of the National Anthem by Claryssa Wilson.

The combined marching bands from Antioch High and Deer Valley High Schools performed the anthems of each branch of the U.S. military during the ceremony.

Veterans of the Year

Pat Jeremy was then honored as the 2022-23 Veteran of the Year for his work with local efforts by Antioch’s 2021 Veteran of the Year Bill Ridle who was joined by other past Antioch Veterans of the Year. He was presented with a plaque, Certificate of Recognition from Congressman Mark DeSaulnier and a special jacket with his name and honor embroidered.

James was also honored as the 2022-23 Lifetime Veteran of the Year James and was also presented with a plaque, Certificate from DeSaulnier and a special jacket embroidered with his name and honor.

Oakview Memorial Park was honored as the Presidential Veteran Supporter. Managing Partner Jarrod Bolliger was joined by J.R. Wilson and a representative of Congressman Mark DeSaulnier’s office.

New awards were presented this year, including the Presidential Veteran Supporter for a business to Oakview Memorial Park represented by Managing Partner Jarrod Bolliger.

Debbie Jeremy and her son Tim were honored as Veteran Volunteers and joined by J.R. Wilson and a representative of Congressman Mark DeSaulnier’s office.

The Veteran Volunteer Supporters awards were presented to Debbie Jeremy, her son Tim Jeremy, and Pat Dorn and his son, Gavin for their work with veterans including the bi-annual Stand Down on the Delta.

Pat Dorn and his son, Gavin were also honored as Veteran Volunteers and joined by J.R. Wilson and a representative of Congressman Mark DeSaulnier’s office.

Veterans Memorial 25th Anniversary

During the ceremony, Janice Silva-Moore, owner of Silva’s Family Memorials and her brother and Jack da Silva were recognized as the Antioch Veterans Memorial’s 25th Anniversary monument was celebrated. Approved by the city council in 1996, it was created by the company under the then-ownership of their father John Silva, affectionately known as “Chiseler” and erected later that year. It honors all five branches of the U.S. military.

Joined by members of the city council and Delta Veterans Group, Janice Silva-Moore (second from left) and her brother Jack da Silva were recognized during the brief celebration of the 25th anniversary of the Antioch Veterans Memorial.

According to the company, the senior Silva, with more than 20 years of experience, purchased the Vallejo Monument Company in 1974 and the Antioch Memorials property in 1975. A second-generation memorialist, John, merged the two to become Silva’s Memorials. He was a veteran, as well, having served in the U.S. Army as a Military Police Officer, rising to the rank of corporal while stationed in Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio, Texas.

Mayor Pro Tem Mike Barbanica (left) with the Silvas at the Antioch Veterans Memorial monument.

In 1995, a national competition was announced seeking proposals for a new Antioch Veterans Memorial. A call for submissions was issued, sponsored by the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 6435 members and the City of Antioch. Several design criteria were incorporated to meet the needs determined by the VFW and Design Committee. Those were established to ensure a patriotic aesthetic, ongoing durability and a respectful presence.

The monument sits at the foot of L Street between the entrances of the Antioch Marina and Boat Launch parking lots

Other Presentations

That was followed by a presentation by Rich Hiebert about his great uncle, entitled “Killed in Action the Story of Lloyd Hiebert” who died in the Philippines during World War II on July 30, 1945.

Antioch Chamber executive, Daniel Sohn, spoke briefly as the California Board Member of the U.S. Selective Service System, about 18-year-old males being required to register for the military.


The day’s events were sponsored by VFW Post 6435, American Legion Post 161, Disabled American Veterans Chapter 154, Antioch Rivertown Veterans Lions Club, Delta Veterans Group, Smith’s Landing Seafood Grill, Tri Delta Transit and the City of Antioch.

Parade & Bell Ringing

The ceremony was followed by the parade in historic downtown Rivertown beginning at 11:00 a.m. win honor of the end of World War I with the signing of the armistice at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918. The parade was briefly stopped for the ringing of the bell at El Campanil Theatre which sounded 11 times.

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Antioch Veterans Day Pancake Breakfast Friday, Nov. 11

Sunday, November 6th, 2022

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Antioch Veterans Day Celebration and Parade Friday, Nov. 11

Thursday, November 3rd, 2022

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Free golf, food, prizes for veterans at Brentwood Golf Club Friday, Nov. 11

Friday, October 28th, 2022

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Delta Veterans Group presents Music Heals Concert at El Campanil Theatre July 9

Wednesday, July 6th, 2022

Short documentary about the effort by Joey Travolta and crew will be shown



Join us for an afternoon of fantastic bands, all to support our veterans!

Organizers Darlyn Phillips and Tony Archimedes shared the following about the concert:

“For many years musicians have been coming to support the Stand Down on the Delta for homeless veterans. They come without pay from 10 AM in the morning to 10 PM at night. We are sure that they love doing the music as a labor of love type of thing, but we felt that the musicians themselves really needed to be recognized.

About a year ago we met Joey Travolta, John’s brother, who is a film director and teaches film producing and acting to under privileged people with autism. We told him about the Stand Down and the musicians and he agreed to do a documentary on it. (See related article)

On July 9, we will be featuring some of the musicians who play at the Stand Downs, as well as showing the short documentary. Three bands will take the stage and play from 2 to 4 PM, alternately. This is sort of a stepping off point that brings awareness about a program we are going to be spearheading called Music Heals.

Please pass the word on and it would be great to see you there!!! Take care and keep the music alive! Our band is The Groove Room.”


The Illusions came together as young men of this area at the age of 14 or 15 years old. The boys grew up together and played until they were in their late teens when life would take them down a different path. The young men entered the military–one went into the US Army and would later receive orders and serve time as a combat veteran. Joe Martinez saw combat and served his time in Vietnam. Richard Rivas, the group’s band leader and drummer, was drafted into the US Army. Richard Rivas has many interesting stories to tell. Richard leads the group into many R&B Classics and is a huge hit on the dance floor. Tony Archimedes joined the US Marine Corp to protect his country and to serve in Viet Nam, but instead was sent to Pearl Harbor, HI to play in the Marine Band. Each time he requested to go to Vietnam, Tony was told he was needed in the band. His entire unit who were sent to Vietnam were killed. He will always remember his men. Tony plays many instruments and has taught hundreds of young musicians in the Bay area, many of them going on to receive awards and scholarships. Mitch McCarrie served his time in the US Naval Reserves in Alameda on the Flight Line and continues to enjoy playing for his fellow veterans. Mitch plays a mean guitar.

The Groove Room Band specializes in jazz and crossover tunes and Bossa Nova, although they play a variety of genres. The band features Tony Archimedes on keys, and Bay Area bassist Michael Fourie with his unusual and killer electric bass. Originally from Canada, Michael continues to perform for the troops at the Stand Down on the Delta and a variety of other events as well as Bay Area wide in a variety of venues. The trumpet player for the Groove Room, Walter Barr directed for Dizzy Gillespie and many other legends. The drummer, Brett King Cosby, is well-known and has played for many top bands across the country. Darlyn Phillips is the band’s leader and lead singer.

Areas of Santana features guitarist Ray Cepeda. He has recorded with many Bay Area artists and more, and has recently recorded with Chepito Areas. The two travel throughout the U.S. bringing awareness and inspiration to audiences throughout. Chepito, legacy of the Santana Band, is a motivator not only in the energy and vibe of his music but in the passion of his art and love of life. Cepeda is an educator teaching mostly Spanish, electronics and music for the ROP classes in the Eden area of Hayward.

Phillips initiated the documentary which was produced by Joey Travolta. The ‘Music Heals’ documentary, of the Music Heals Program for DVG’s Stand Down on the Delta for Homeless Veterans, features many of the veterans who come to the Stand Downs to play for their fellow veterans. The program was started by Phillips to promote awareness and support for veterans coming back into their musical arenas after injury or trauma and to inspire, to encourage playing, to regain lost skills, or develop new ones.

Allen D. Payton contributed to this report.

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Antioch Sesquicentennial: Independence Day weekend activities July 2-4 ending with fireworks over the river!

Monday, June 27th, 2022

By Michael Gabrielson, Celebrate Antioch Foundation

This year, Antioch is celebrating 150 years of cityhood! Antioch is Contra Costa’s original city and one of the oldest communities in California. From humble beginnings in 1849 as Smith’s Landing, renaming to Antioch during the July 4, 1851, picnic, to a thriving and bustling city, we are excited to honor our legacy as we mark our Sesquicentennial in 2022. Celebrate Antioch Foundation in partnership with the City of Antioch has planned and been hosting a series of events to pay tribute to our heritage and celebrate our community. Following are the upcoming events for our Sesquicentennial 4th of July Celebration!

July 2nd Concert in The Park 3pm-9pm

Calling out all music enthusiasts. Bring your chairs, blankets and enjoy several bands that will be performing at Williamson Ranch Park that will get you movin’ and groovin’! Blind to Reason 3pm – 4:30pm, Groove Ride 5pm – 6;30pm, and Project 4 Band 7pm – 8:30pm. There will be Food trucks to purchase food or bring your own and make a day of it. This is a free, fun, family friendly event you won’t want to miss!

The U.S. Air Force Band of the Golden West will perform on Sunday in Antioch. The planes will not be with them. Source: USAF BGW Facebook page

July 3rd Military Tribute Concert 3pm-9pm

Please join us in Antioch’s historic downtown Rivertown at our main stage on W. 2nd and E Streets. The U.S. Air Force Band of the Golden West will be headlining a day of great music celebrating our military. This event is free to the community, Food Trucks will be there including Cousins Maine Lobster truck. This is a celebration you won’t want to miss and here is our lineup: 3pm – 4:30pm The Illusions, 5pm – 6:30pm The Grove Room Band, and 7pm – 8:30pm Air Force Band of the Golden West

Veterans’ Color Guard leads off the parade on July 4, 2016. Herald file photo

July 4th Antioch’s Sesquicentennial 4th of July Celebration 11am-10pm

This is a Celebration You won’t Want to Miss! Celebrating 150 Years of Cityhood as one of the Oldest Cities in California! Come Help Us Celebrate our 150th! The Celebration starts with a Pancake Breakfast 8am-10am followed by the Sesquicentennial July 4th Community Parade 11am-12:30pm. Then we have a great entertainment lineup of bands performing on two stages throughout the day, two Food Courts as well as a great selection of wonderful food from our Rivertown restaurants, Craft Vendors and a Huge Kids Zone, where for $10 your little ones can play all day. This is a Fun Family Friendly Event where no alcohol or coolers are allowed.

Antioch fireworks July 4th, 2021. Herald file photos

The evening will finish up with The Sacred Fire Dancers Performing at the Main Stage immediately before the 9:30pm Fireworks Show Over the Delta!

Band Line Up

City Stage
1-2:30pm Vocal Ease
3-4:30pm RJay Haas Band
5-6:30pm Orquestra Latin Heat
7-8:30pm The Groove Doctors

Main Stage
1-2:30pm Anthony Paule Soul Orchestra
3-4:30pm Foreverland
5-6:30pm Lydia Pence and Cold Blood
7-8:30pm Juan Escovedo All-Stars Band
9-9:20pm Sacred Fire Dancers

For more information about these events, or to donate visit If you wish to participate in our parade visit: and to volunteer during our 4th of July Celebration visit:

Allen D. Payton contributed to this report.

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Why we celebrate Memorial Day: A history of the annual national commemoration

Saturday, May 28th, 2022

All Americans are asked to pause at 3:00 p.m. (local time) on the last Monday in May for a ‘‘National Moment of Remembrance”

Antioch to hold commemoration Monday morning

Fredericksburg National Cemetery. Source:

From and

Memorial Day is the national observance on the last Monday in May to honor those who sacrificed their lives while serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.

Memorial Day commemorates the women and men who have died while in military service, and it will be observed this year on May 30, 2022, the last Monday in May as designated by Federal law (36 U.S.C. 116).

Begun in the late 1860’s as Decoration Day, spring flowers were distributed at graves to honor those fallen in the Civil War. By the end of the 19th century, ceremonies were being held in cities across the country. In 1966, the Federal Government declared Waterloo, New York, the official birthplace of Memorial Day. (Source: The Origins of Memorial Day, Department of Veterans Affairs )

According to, “some records show that one of the earliest Memorial Day commemorations was organized by a group of formerly enslaved people in Charleston, South Carolina less than a month after the Confederacy surrendered in 1865. in 1966 the federal government declared Waterloo, New York, the official birthplace of Memorial Day…which first celebrated the day on May 5, 1866…because it hosted an annual, community-wide event, during which businesses closed and residents decorated the graves of soldiers with flowers and flags.”

According to, the origins of this day are difficult to prove “as over two dozen towns and cities lay claim to be the birthplace. Memorial Day was borne out of the Civil War (which ended in 1865) and a desire to honor our dead. On the 5th of May in 1868, General John Logan who was the national commander of the Grand Army of the republic, officially proclaimed it in his General Order No. 11…for the purpose of strewing with flowers, or otherwise decorating the graves of comrades who died in defense of their country during the late rebellion, and whose bodies now lie in almost every city, village and hamlet churchyard in the land.’ Because the day wasn’t the anniversary of any particular battle, the general called it, the date of Decoration Day.

On the first Decoration Day, 5,000 participants decorated the graves of 20,000 Union and Confederate soldiers buried at Arlington Cemetery while General James Garfield made a historic speech.

New York was the first state to officially recognize the holiday in 1873. It was recognized by all northern states by 1890. Differently, the South refused to acknowledge the day and honored their dead, on separate days. This went on until after World War I when the holiday changed from honoring just those who died fighting in the Civil War to honoring Americans who died fighting in any war.

With the Congressional passage of the National Holiday Act of 1971 (P.L. 90 – 363), it is now observed on the last Monday in May by almost every state.”

Red Poppies on Memorial Day

Also, according to, “In 1915, inspired by the poem ‘In Flanders Fields,’ Moina Michael replied with her own poem: We cherish too, the Poppy red That grows on fields where valor led, It seems to signal to the skies That blood of heroes never dies.

She then conceived of an idea to wear red poppies on Memorial Day in honor of those who died serving the nation during war. She was the first to wear one and sold poppies to her friends and co-workers with the money going to benefit servicemen in need. See more on the significance of the Red Poppy.

Later a Madam Guerin from France was visiting the United States and learned of this new custom started by Ms. Michael. When she returned to France, she made artificial red poppies to raise money for war orphaned children and widowed women. This tradition spread to other countries. In 1921, the Franco-American Children’s League sold poppies nationally to benefit war orphans of France and Belgium. The League disbanded a year later, and Madam Guerin approached the VFW for help.

Shortly before Memorial Day in 1922 the VFW became the first veterans’ organization to nationally sell poppies. Two years later their ‘Buddy’ Poppy program was selling artificial poppies made by disabled veterans. In 1948 the US Post Office honored Ms. Michael for her role in founding the National Poppy movement by issuing a red 3 cent postage stamp with her likeness on it.”

Public Law 106-579, signed into law December 28, 2000, created the White House Commission on the National Moment of Remembrance, and it designated 3:00 p.m. (local time) on Memorial Day each year as the ‘‘National Moment of Remembrance.” At this time all Americans “To voluntarily and informally observe in their own way a Moment of remembrance and respect, pausing from whatever they are doing for a moment of silence or listening to ‘Taps’.”

Antioch to Hold Annual Memorial Day Commemoration Monday Morning

Memorial Day in Antioch will begin Monday morning at 9:00 am with a processional, followed by a ceremony, then continue with a fundraising lunch at Smith’s Landing Seafood Grill. For details click, here.

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Contra Costa County Fair is back in Antioch May 12-15

Friday, May 6th, 2022

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