Memorial Day Observances Planned For Throughout Los Angeles County

LOS ANGELES (CNS) - Memorial Day observances in Los Angeles County today will include a parade in Canoga Park, a ceremony at the Los Angeles National Cemetery in Westwood and a Mass celebrated by Archbishop Jose H. Gomez in Mission Hills.

The 29th annual Canoga Park Memorial Day Parade will begin at 11 a.m. at Sherman Way and Owensmouth Avenue and head east on Sherman Way to Cozycroft Avenue. An opening ceremony at 10 a.m. will precede the parade.

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti and Randy C. Reeves, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs undersecretary for memorial affairs, are set to speak at a ceremony at the Los Angeles National Cemetery in Westwood beginning at 10 a.m.

Gomez will celebrate an outdoor Memorial Day Mass at 10 a.m. at the San Fernando Mission Cemetery in Mission Hills. The Mass will include a moment of silence, a bugler playing ``Taps,'' and the release of white doves.

The names of the 6,904 members of the armed forces who gave their lives in service since the 9/11 attacks will be read at the Honoring Our Fallen Memorial Wall remembrance gathering at Rosie the Riveter Park in Long Beach.

The gathering will begin at 5:45 a.m., one minute after sunrise, with the presentation of colors, national anthem and a moment of silence.

The names will be read in order of death as inscribed on the wall by active duty military members, police officers, veterans and relatives of the fallen troops.

The wall is the only memorial listing all of the nation's fallen military members since the 9/11 attacks as confirmed by U.S. Central Command and the only post-9/11 memorial in Los Angeles County, according to Laura Herzog, founder and executive director of Honoring Our Fallen, which built the wall and provides support for families of fallen military members, specifically during the transfer of remains.

What is billed as the South Bay's largest annual Memorial Day observance will begin at 10 a.m. at Green Hills Memorial Park in Rancho Palos Verdes.

The 33rd annual observance will include flyovers by a U.S. Air Force C- 17 military transport aircraft and vintage SNJ-5 and CJ-6A trainer aircraft; a performance by the 21st Century skydiving team; a parade of colors presented by members of the armed forces, veterans groups, police officers, firefighters, K-9 teams and Junior ROTC units; a display of a World War II ambulance and Vietnam War-era military jeep; wreath-laying with a 21-gun salute and the playing of ``Taps''; several musical performances; and the release of 100 doves.

The keynote speaker will be retired U.S. Marine Corps Lt. Gen. John Wissler.

Rose Hills Memorial Park in Whittier will begin its 98th annual Memorial Day Observance at 11 a.m. It will include musical performances, a vintage plane flyover, displays of military vehicles and remembrance trees.

The 71st annual 24-hour Memorial Day Vigil at the war memorial in Cinco Puntos on Cesar E. Chavez Avenue in Boyle Heights will conclude at 10 a.m. At least one person will be standing guard throughout the vigil.

A Memorial Day Ceremony at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum will begin at noon with the lighting of the Coliseum torch and conclude with a wreath laying and a bugler playing ``Taps.''

Inglewood's 70th annual Memorial Day Service will begin at 11 a.m. in front of the Memorial Obelisk Monument at Inglewood City Hall.

Pico Rivera's Memorial Day Ceremony will begin at 10 a.m. at the city's Veterans Memorial and Eternal Flame. Veterans attending the ceremony are asked to bring a copy of their military photo -- no larger than 4 inches by 6 inches -- to display on the Veterans Wall.

Montebello's Memorial Day Ceremony will begin at 11 a.m. at the Veterans Monument at Montebello City Park.

Danny Hernandez will be the keynote speaker. He was a Marine Corps sergeant during the Vietnam War, awarded a Silver Star and Purple Heart and shot in the head and back during Operation Utah in 1966 that left 98 Marines dead and 278 wounded.

The 103rd annual Forest Lawn Memorial Day event at Forest Lawn- Hollywood Hills will include a keynote address by retired U.S. Army Capt. Dr. Jon Williams, a platoon leader in the 1st Cavalry Division.

During his second tour in Vietnam in 1968, Williams was wounded and spent six months in an Army hospital, undergoing surgery 23 times. He received three Purple Hearts for wounds received in combat.

Guests are encouraged to arrive by 9 a.m. to allow ample time to find parking. The event will begin at 10 a.m.

Memorial Day remembrances are also planned for the Forest Lawn memorial parks in the Covina Hills, Glendale and Long Beach.

El Monte's Memorial Day Ceremony will begin at 9 a.m. at Arceo Park and include a tribute prisoners of war and troops who are missing in action. The keynote speech will be delivered by Ralph Roy Ramirez, who served in the U.S. Navy during the Vietnam War.

In his Memorial Day proclamation, President Donald Trump proclaimed Monday as a day of prayer for permanent peace, designating 11 a.m. in each time zone as a time during which people may unite in prayer, citing a 1950 joint resolution by Congress.

Trump also asked all Americans to observe the National Moment of Remembrance beginning at 3 p.m. in each time zone under a bill signed into law in 2000 by then-President Bill Clinton.

The Moment of Remembrance is a ``way we can all help put the memorial back in Memorial Day,'' its founder Carmella LaSpada said.

Trump's proclamation also requested governors of all U.S. states and territories and the appropriate officials of all units of government to direct that the flag be flown at half-staff until noon on Memorial Day on all buildings, grounds, and naval vessels throughout nation and in all areas under its jurisdiction and control.

Trump also requested the American public to display the flag at half- staff from their homes until noon Monday.

``On Memorial Day, we pause in solemn gratitude to pay tribute to the brave patriots who laid down their lives defending peace and freedom while in military service to our great nation,'' Trump declared in his proclamation.

``We set aside this day to honor their sacrifice and to remind all Americans of the tremendous price of our precious liberty.

``Throughout the history of our republic, courageous Americans have purchased our cherished freedom with their lives. Our 151 national cemeteries serve as the final resting place for millions of people, including veterans from every war and conflict, many of whom died while serving our country.

``We remain duty bound to honor those who made the ultimate sacrifice on our behalf and to remember them with thankfulness and unwavering pride. The fallen -- our treasured loved ones, friends, neighbors and fellow citizens -- deserve nothing less from a grateful nation.''

What became Memorial Day was first observed on May 30, 1868, as Decoration Day, a time for the nation to decorate the graves of the Civil War dead with flowers.

It was established 25 days earlier by Maj. Gen. John Logan, national commander of the Grand Army of the Republic, an organization of veterans who fought for the Union in the Civil War. It is believed that date was chosen because flowers would be in bloom all over the nation.

By the end of the 19th century, Decoration Day ceremonies were being held on May 30 throughout the nation. After World War I, the holiday was changed to honor Americans who died fighting in all wars.

The term Memorial Day was first used in 1882, became more common after World War II and declared the official name by federal law in 1967.

Memorial Day had been observed on May 30, until being moved to the last Monday in May in 1971 under terms of the Uniform Monday Holiday Act, which became law in 1968.

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