An enormous American flag towered over Willows on Saturday to pay tribute to Michael Dennis Sides – a local Vietnam veteran who recently passed away. Sides received all military honors during the memorial, including a gun salute from Colusa County veterans.

Family and friends gathered under the flag flying over Bubba’s Place, a local pub frequented by Sides. A reception to celebrate his life was held inside after the ceremony.

“He enjoyed his time here with his friends, so we thought it would be the perfect place to honor him,” said Mike Sides, son of the deceased.

Colusa County chapters of the American Legion and Veterans of Foreign Wars led the ceremony; Glenn County chapters were helping out at the Willows Car and Bike show, and thus couldn’t attend.

“We were asked to help; the Glenn County chapters are busy with the car show,” said Ron Azevedo, commander of the Colusa chapter of the American Legion. “All we’re doing is honoring a fallen vet. That’s our main purpose in life.”

The veterans presented Sides’ son with a folded American flag before enacting a military 21-gun salute. One of their members played taps on the bugle, and a local woman sang “O’ Johnny Boy” during the ceremony.

Sides family and friends said it was a beautiful ceremony, and a proper send-off for Sides.

“Now he can be with his wife and be happy,” said Angie Holbrook, a long-time family friend of Sides.

With the last gunshot fired, everyone filed into Bubba’s Place for refreshments and to share stories of Sides.

Recommended for you