By Mary O’KEEFE
A solemn and meaningful Memorial Day ceremony was held at Two Strike Park early Monday morning. The sidewalk was lined with American flags and posters reminding the crowd why it was there. It was called the Walk of Honor and was a new addition to the Two Strike Park ceremony. Names of those who made the ultimate sacrifice for their country were on each poster, along with the military branch and the day and year they were killed.
The ceremony was also personal for Crescenta Valley residents. U.S. Air Force veteran Lynn McGinnis read the list of the Fallen Heroes from Crescenta Valley. Local groups including many Boy Scout troops presented flowers in remembrance.
The Pledge of Allegiance was led by Eagle Scout Adam Fletcher from troop 288. Fletcher has a special place in the hearts of local veterans. For his Eagle project he found and restored a long forgotten memorial of MIA/POW Sgt. David Demmon who was shot down over the U Minh forest, Vietnam in 1965.
CV High School senior Tiara Bedal-Gazarian sang “God Bless America,” a picture displayed behind her of her grandfather Skip Bedal who was killed in Vietnam when her mother was a little over a year old.
Bedal-Gazarian said she was not nervous singing in front of the large audience that had gathered at the park. She is in the high school choir and sings a cappella. She added that she was glad to have the chance to honor her grandfather and all of those who have died while serving.
The keynote speaker was Warren Spayth, Commander of the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 1614 and Vietnam Veteran U.S. Marines, who welcomed the audience.
“…and welcome to the vets. Thanks guys for coming. It means a lot,” he said. “What a beautiful day it is to gather in remembrance of the noble men and women of our armed forces who throughout history have sacrificed their lives so others could live in freedom. They epitomize and give true meaning to the words valor, sacrifice, loyalty and perseverance.”
He continued by reminding everyone that too often those sacrifices are forgotten and that it was up to everyone to keep their memory alive. He said of those who died in the service of their country that they were driven by the need “to do right and to do well.”
“To those who have given everything we owe a debt, a debt that will never be completely repaid. A debt of remembrance and education,” Spayth said.
Clark Magnet High School teacher and veteran Paul Burghdorf read a poem titled “Reflections at The Vietnam Wall.” A girl who never got to know her father wrote the poem. He was killed when she was a year old. She wrote of his memory and of her loss. She ended the poem by placing a picture of her wedding at the wall.
To Paul and his wife, Marilyn, a teacher at CVHS this Memorial Day was special.
“We are going to pick up
our son and daughter-in-law at the airport today,” Marilyn
Their son and his wife had just completed serving their time in the U.S. Air Force and were returning home on Memorial Day. They had both served in Iraq and
the Burghdorfs were very excited, happy and relieved to welcome them home.
As the ceremony was winding down, once again Bedal-Gazarian came to the podium and sang a crystal clear rendition of “Hero.”
Then, echoing across the park, Assistant Scoutmaster Ethan Hacker of Troop 288 bugled Taps.