San Rafael, CA – Tom Tarantino, a U.S. Army combat veteran from the Balkan and Middle Eastern conflicts who now works on public policy and veterans causes for Twitter, will be the featured speaker at the County of Marin’s Memorial Day ceremony May 29 at the Marin Veterans Memorial Auditorium in San Rafael.
Tom Tarantino, who grew up in San Anselmo, is shown in a blown-out bunker in the Middle East during one of his deployments.
Tarantino, a Walnut Creek resident who grew up in San Anselmo, graduated from College of Marin and enlisted in the Army Reserves in 1997. He assisted with repatriation of war refugees in Bosnia during his first deployment, then earned a degree from UC Santa Barbara. He was commissioned as an officer in 2002 and served five more years of active duty with the 11th
Armored Cavalry Regiment, part of which was spent in Iraq. Later, he worked for the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America on topics such as veteran employment, education and health care.
Today, the 1996 Sir Francis Drake High School graduate is on Twitter’s San Francisco-based public policy team and leads the company’s Veterans and Military Families Employee Resource Group.
"Growing up in Marin is a privilege and being asked to return home to speak on Memorial Day is a great honor,” Tarantino said. “For most Americans, Memorial Day means a day off, barbecues, and mattress sales. It has never been more vital that we remember the true significance of this holiday. So many Americans have made the ultimate sacrifice in service to the people and ideals that make this country great. Memorial Day is about honoring them and their families."
The Memorial Day event, presented by the Marin County United Veterans Council and supported by the Marin County Board of Supervisors, honors all fallen American servicemen and servicewomen in the line of duty with a special emphasis on Marin’s own heroes. It includes a ceremony inside the Veterans Memorial Auditorium starting at 10 a.m. followed by an outdoor ceremony in front of the military monuments on Avenue of the Flags, just outside the auditorium.
The Civic Center ceremony will feature patriotic marches played by the Las Gallinas Valley Sanitary District Non-Marching Band and the singing voice of Novato’s Rachel Lee. Cadets from U.S. Air Force Junior Reserve Officers Training Corps based at Novato High School will participate as a color guard, drill team and flag raisers, and elected officials and representatives from local veterans groups will be recognized.
The program then moves outdoors to the memorials on the Avenue of the Flags. After wreaths are laid at the foot of statues, “Taps” is played to conclude the ceremony. Doughnuts and coffee will be served in the Redwood Room of Marin Center after the outdoor ceremony.
Marin County’s Veterans Services program is a division of the Marin County Department of Health and Human Services.