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Marine vet keynote speaker at Memorial Day celebration

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Marine vet keynote speaker at Memorial Day celebrationIn his Memorial Day speech in Clayton, Lt. Col. Mike Hudson will emphasize sacrifice and the gift of valor.

“I’ll be talking about Memorial Day and why it matters. I want to focus on the gifts that those sacrifices bring – the impact and moving forward,” he said.

“Then I’ll bring those things together to explain the role of the living veteran in telling the story of those who are no longer with us – basically a way to keep the memory and knowledge of those contributions alive by letting younger generations know what happened.”

The 28th annual Memorial Day Observance begins at 10 a.m. Monday, May 27, at the downtown Clayton flagpole. The Lt. Jerry Novakovich VFW Post 1525 is co-hosting the event with the Korean War Veterans Chapter 264.

Gold Star Mom Jeanne Magnani also will speak, with music by Concord High School, the Diablo View Middle School Band and Ladies First.

Hudson, a Concord resident, enlisted in the Marines in 1993 and was a reservist while attending San Diego State. He was commissioned as an officer in 1997 and served three tours in Iraq and two in Afghanistan before retiring in September 2018.

On Memorial Day, he intends to honor those who impacted his life – including author Bryan Smothers. An Amazon reviewer said Smothers’ book, “1968 Year of the Monkey,” should be required reading “for every Nam vet and their families.”

“When I was stationed in Texas, I met him and developed a pretty close relationship with him,” Hudson said of Smothers, who died in August 2018.

Hudson said he also will talk about the hardships and sacrifices that military families make, and he’ll include his two daughters in the program. He named his youngest, 9-year-old Yullina, after fallen Marine Yull Estrada.

“She clearly understands why her name is important,” he said. “And she’s pretty proud of it.”

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