VACAVILLE, CA — A sunrise salute to honor fallen heroes.
U.S. Marine Mike Goble of Vacaville is a Vietnam Veteran. He organized an early morning hike up “Hill 147” in Vacaville on the morning of Memorial Day with one very important mission: To pay tribute to the 22 servicemen from the Vacaville/Fairfield area who lost their lives in the Vietnam War.
“I think it’s important what they’ve done and how they lost their lives and that we remember them on Memorial Day,” Goble explained.
The honorary hike started as a small project last May for two of Goble’s friends in his hometown of Glendale, Arizona who lost their lives while serving in Vietnam. At that time, Goble placed to flags atop the hill in between Vacaville and Fairfield for drivers to see as they commute across I-80. He said he had no idea how far-reaching this event would become in just a year’s time.
One by one, veterans, family members of the fallen and community members of all ages made the trek up the steep 300-foot golden hill with the stars and stripes in tow.
“I see the flags driving up and down the freeway, and when I found out the reason I thought, I’ve got an uncle who went to Vietnam. I have many family members who have served. I served, and I thought it’s my chance to do something,” said Air Force veteran Theresa Stoneman who made the hike up the hill Monday morning.
Each flag blowing in the gentle breeze, memorializing a fallen soldier. Signs with descriptions and photos of the fallen soldiers were placed atop the hill.
As the golden rays of the sun began to cast light on the valley floor, Boy Scout Hunter Miller played “Taps” on his trumpet in an emotional tribute.
Two-time Purple Heart recipient James Oliver also served in Vietnam from 1967-68 and again in 1970-71. He made the early morning hike to honor his brothers who never came home from war.
“It’s to remember the fallen. It’s to remember those who have died for the freedoms that we have so that we can live in this great country. So to be up on that hill with everybody was just an amazing experience,” Oliver said.
71-year-old Goble will be hiking a total of 55 miles today as a way to pay tribute to the more than 58-thousand names on the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall in Washington D.C.
“If you had a path with a headstone every five feet that would be 55 miles long. So I’m going to symbolically pass every headstone for every guy on the Vietnam Wall,” Goble explained.
A veteran bringing the community together to honor those who paid the ultimate sacrifice on this Memorial Day.