Thousands paid tribute Monday to fallen U.S. service men and women at Oak Hill Memorial Park in San Jose at a Memorial Day observance that ended minutes before rain started falling, a veterans leader said.
"We had a three-star admiral, a two-star general and one-star general," said Ernie Glave, president of the United Veterans Council of Santa Clara County that hosted the service. "We had quite a crowd."
Glave, whose group has organized the Memorial Day commemorations at Oak Hill since 1972, estimated that about 5,000 people showed for the service.
"It was one of the best ceremonies I've seen in 41 years," said Glave, 88, a U.S. Navy pilot in the South Pacific during World War II.
"The rain fell 20 minutes after it ended," he said. "The man upstairs let it finish."
Prior to the ceremony, members of local Boy and Girl Scouts troops gathered to place 3,600 small American flags on the graves of military veterans at Oak Hill.
The cemetery, at 300 Curtner Ave., which began in 1839, is the oldest secular cemetery in California, according to the park's website.
It has served as a venue for Memorial Days celebrated in San Jose since 1918, according to the veterans council.
Today's service honored veterans of American wars buried within six sections of the cemetery, including two plots with remains of Civil War soldiers and one plot representing the Spanish American War.
To honor veterans, the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority ordered drivers of approximately 150 buses and 20 light-rail trains in service today to stop in a "national moment of remembrance" at 3 p.m., VTA spokeswoman Brandi Childress said.
VTA bus drivers pulled over and light rail engineers stopped at the nearest station and "make a brief announcement in remembrance of those who gave their lives that we will be honoring them" for one minute, Childress said.
At California's Great America amusement park in San Jose, operators hoisted a 20-foot-long American flag this morning at the entrance and placed two 20-foot banners with pictures of veterans next to the park's double-deck carousel, park spokesman Roger Ross said.
For Memorial Day, the park offered veterans free all-day admission passes and let them buy up to six tickets for family and friends at $19.99 each instead of the $59.99 price for general admission, Ross said.
"We have free tickets for all military personnel, anyone who has ever served," Ross said. "We have (no discounts) that are cheaper than for our vets."
Watchdogs are questioning an exclusive agreement between the City of Oakland and a non-profit group, tapped to lead a multi-million dollar project to redevelop the area around the Coliseum BART station.