Today (Feb. 10) would have marked the 56th birthday of late Metallica legend Cliff Burton. His influence has carried on since his tragic death in 1986 and this year, his hometown of Castro Valley, California has honored his legacy with "Cliff Burton Day." His 93-year-old father, Ray, knows his son would have loved it.

“I do not have a moment of doubt that, if Cliff were alive, he would have had a huge smile on his face about receiving this proclamation,” said Ray in a statement earlier this week as reported by the East Bay Times. “Feb. 10 has always been a very special day for me," he continued, "and I am honored to now share this day with everyone in Castro Valley."

In recent years, Ray has played an active role in Metallica's ongoing legacy. When the band issued the historical photo book Metallica: Back to the Front, he received a collector's edition, marveling at what was inside while he flipped through it in a video. In 2017, Metal Allegiance performed a "Fallen Heroes" set in Los Angeles, running through classic songs from musicians we've lost over the years. Ray was on site to hand Mark Menghi Cliff's bass before the group launched into "Disposable Heroes" and he sat onstage for the performance of "Seek & Destroy," watching Metal Allegiance pay tribute to his son.

Ray has also been a bit of a hometown hero, donating Cliff's royalties to scholarships for Castro Valley High School students. “The kids who won it they invariably write and thank me for. And I think Cliff probably would have done that with his money, because he was not against education by any means. He liked it very much," Ray told the Alphabeticallica podcast last year. “[Cliff] was quite a humble person. He just didn’t like the strutting types that so much of the rock ‘n’ roll musicians get to be when they get popular. He just liked to do his wild playing of heavy metal music. He never changed.”

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