News

Community honors Chachi at Fallen Hero Memorial dedication

Several hundred residents, veterans and students gathered in front of the Veterans Memorial Building Saturday morning to memorialize a local hero.

Nearly seven months after his death, the community honored the memory of Lance Cpl. Joshua "Chachi" Corral during the dedication of Danville's Fallen Hero Memorial. A member of the United States Marine Corps 3rd Battalion, 7th Regiment, Chachi graduated from San Ramon Valley High School in 2010. On Nov. 18, 2011, during his first tour of duty in Afghanistan, Chachi made the ultimate sacrifice.

Chachi was the first SRVHS grad to die in combat during the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, a memorial in his honor now sits at the corner of Hartz and Prospect avenues.

The Corral family was joined by town officials, veterans and members of Chachi's regiment for the for the 10 a.m. unveiling. Mayor Candace Andersen, along with Chachi's company commander, family members, friends and veterans, gave heartfelt speeches and sang songs.

"I am proud to be the member of a community who truly honors and respects our veterans and those who serve fighting for our country," Andersen said.

The ceremony concluded with the unveiling of the memorial: a statue of a soldier's combat boots, rifle and helmet configured in the battlefield cross. Chachi's name has been engraved at the base of the memorial; the names of other fallen soldiers will join his in the future.

"This memorial is not a dedication to war, nor is it a proclamation against it. It is not a memorial of death; it is a memorial of life. Of Chachi's life and of the lives of all others who have set the example before him," said Company Commander Capt. David Russell.

Members of the Marine Corps also hung the dog tags of fallen soldiers upon the statue. Col. Corral, Chachi's grandfather, presented the last dog tag: a blank tag which represents all of the fallen soldiers who had already given their lives.

A mariachi parade led attendees to the town green for a celebration of life. Local food and beverage vendors were joined by live music, kids' activities and presentations.

"It is the celebration of life, the way life is supposed to be lived. It is an example for all of us, of who we should strive to be become everyday. How we should live our lives, that's who Chachi is to us," Capt. Russel said. "Men who knew their value, men who did what they knew was right. Men who I honestly believe, if given the choice and knowing what the price to be paid was going to be -- would have still paid it regardless; would have still walked the course laid out before them because they knew it was the path they were meant to be on. That is what I feel, what I see when I gaze upon this memorial and from now on when I visit other memorials. Because a little bit of Chachi will be a light in all of them."

Comments

Posted by Marie, a resident of Danville
on Jun 25, 2012 at 4:29 pm

I don't mean to be negative, this was a wonderful event, but I have been wondering this for a while… How come some people don't salute our flag during the National Anthem, Pledge of Allegiance or when the flag passes by in a parade or something? I noticed a man in the picture not saluting when others were. I know we have not lost our patriotism because of the turn out for all of these events. Anyone know why?


Posted by Bill, a resident of Danville
on Jun 26, 2012 at 6:36 am

Marie,

My take on your question is apathy, lack of teaching of patriotism in our schools in order to be politically correct to those of other cultures who live here but don't consider themselves Americans. There was a time when those from other countries wanted to come here to become Americans, I don't think that is the issue for many anymore. We have become a nation of takers and have a sense of entitlement that is amazing. It is heartening to see those who haven't forgot that it is still OK to be patriotic and to honor those who have given the ultimate sacrifice.


Posted by jrm, a resident of Vista Grande Elementary School
on Jun 26, 2012 at 10:16 am

What a stirring event, very moving and it was something I will remember for a long time. The brief remarks by Candace were especially appropo. Chachi's brother Matt was handing out small American flags and I thought of the sacrifice of this family. If you weren't there you missed a very special Danville moment.


Posted by Aubrey, a resident of Alamo
on Jun 26, 2012 at 3:12 pm

Marie,

The standard for the National Anthem is to cover your heart with your right hand. If wearing a hat, and no prior or current military service, remove the hat, otherwise stand at attention and salute. BTW, it is considered bad form to salute without prior or current military service.


Posted by Marie, a resident of Danville
on Jun 26, 2012 at 5:25 pm

Aubrey: yes, I know this, after I sent it, I realized I should have said "hand over heart", but I thought that everyone would understand.


Posted by Marie, a resident of Danville
on Jun 26, 2012 at 6:55 pm

Bill: I thought the same thing about how our liberal schools here in CA have changed over the years, but I think it's just the way they are raised (do their parents do it or not).

Our country's birthday is in a week & I would love to see everyone stand & salute our flag, our veterans, & all of our service men & women who pass by in our parade. God Bless America.


Posted by Dave, a resident of San Ramon
on Jun 27, 2012 at 6:29 am

I am so greatful for our military heroes and for the good folks of Danville who see the value of the American way of life. It is worth fighting for!


Posted by Michele, a resident of another community
on Jun 27, 2012 at 1:44 pm

Hello,
I was able to attend this event and thought it was a beautiful memorial. My son was in his 4th week of Marine boot camp when Chachi was killed...it really hit close to home. I was so impressed that his unit all came to support the family! This makes this Mom proud that her son joined the Marine Corps!
In regard to the lack of respect during the national anthem...I am a first grade teacher in Dublin and we still do the flag salute every day and in all our assemblies. I teach my class to respect our country and the flag. I have noticed too the lack of respect as well and it always saddens me because we live in such a great country!
Ooh Rah!


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