Commemorations Planned for Memorial Day

At a previous Memorial Day ceremony, veterans from American Legion Post 288 and Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 1614 observe a moment of silence.
File photo

In the foothills and surrounding communities several events are planned for Memorial Day.


“When you are in a war zone, you don’t have a chance to grieve when you lose people,” veteran Mike Baldwin said in an earlier interview with CVW. “That is the one thing I noticed when I came home. It took a while to talk about it. When you’re home, you don’t want to think about it.”

Baldwin served during Vietnam and is a longtime member of American Legion Post 288.

There is a bond among those who served in the military that they carry with them throughout their lives. Memorial Day gives people a time to reflect and remember those who have died in service to their country. It is a time for families to remember the loss of loved ones and a time for all to honor those who knew the risk of serving, but put their country and service above all.

“Memorial Day is a day of remembrance,” Lynn McGinnis, member of American Legion Post 288, stated in an earlier interview with CVW. “Veterans Day and Armed Forces Day are times of celebration, but [for us with Post 288] everyone who participates in the Memorial Day [event] is a veteran.”

Memorial Day began in 1868, shortly after the Civil War ended. At the time it was called Decoration Day. It was a time to decorate the graves of the war dead. The day – May 30 – was established as the annual Decoration Day with the idea that was when flowers were in bloom. The first large observance was held that year at Arlington National Cemetery, across the Potomac River from Washington, D.C. The ceremonies centered around the mourning-draped veranda of Arlington mansion, once the home of General Robert E. Lee. Various Washington officials, including General and Mrs. Ulysses S. Grant, presided over the ceremonies. After speeches, children from the Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Orphan Home and members of the Grand Army of the Republic made their way through the cemetery, strewing flowers on both Union and Confederate graves, reciting prayers and singing hymns, according to U.S. Dept. of Veterans Affairs.

In 1966, Congress and President Lyndon Johnson declared Waterloo, New York as the official birthplace of present Memorial Day observances. A ceremony of observance was held on May 5, 1966.

Throughout the area this weekend several organizations will be hosting Memorial Day ceremonies. Below is a list of those in La Crescenta, Glendale and Burbank.

American Legion Post 288 and VFW 1614 will host a Memorial Day ceremony at Two Strike Park, 5107 Rosemont Ave., La Crescenta. The ceremony is on May 29 beginning at 8 a.m. On the agenda is a greeting by Baldwin, the introduction of guest

Vic Bustillos, U.S. Marine Corps, Persian Gulf War; the presentation of colors by CVHS Air Force JROTC Unit 882 color guard; the pledge of allegiance led by veteran Johnie McDowell, U.S. Navy; the playing of the national anthem by Col. Larry Icenogle, U.S. Army Retired; the invocation by Andy Gero, U.S. Army, WWII/U.S. Air Force, Korean War, chaplain VFW Post 1614; the POW/MIA empty table ceremony presented by CVHS Air Force JROTC Unit 882 honor guard; the performance of “Amazing Grace” by Col. Larry Icenogle, U.S. Army Retired; the presentation of flowers by Cub Scout Pack 360; the recitation of the poem “In Flanders Fields” by Jerry Burnham, U.S. Navy, Vietnam; the performance of “Give Me Your Tired, Your Poor” by the Verdugo Hills Women’s Chorus; the performance of “The Wind Beneath My Wings” by Ki Park, director of Verdugo Hills Women’s Chorus; keynote address by Lt. Col. Dave Worley, U.S. Air Force Retired; laying of memorial wreath by Robert Wollenweber, U.S. Army, Gulf War; recitation of names of fallen heroes on the wall by Jim Turner, U.S. Navy, Vietnam; remembering three fallen heroes: Stephen Frank Burlingame, Specialist Fourth Class, U.S. Army, December 22, 1942-March 12, 1967 – read by: Jim Turner, U.S. Navy, Vietnam, Callen James Courtemanche, Corporal, U.S. Marine Corps, January 26, 1947 – January 31, 1968 – read by Robert Wollenweber, U.S. Army, Gulf War; Loren Eugene Engstrom, Warrant Officer, U.S. Army, July 22, 1945-November 13, 1968 – read by Gerald Mason, U.S. Army, Panama; benediction by Jerry Burnham, U.S. Navy, Vietnam; playing of “Taps” by Col. Larry Icenogle, U.S. Army Retired.

Montrose Vietnam Memorial

The May 29 ceremony begins at 7:30 a.m. with bagpiper Bobby Kilgore opening the event with “Amazing Grace” at the Vietnam War Memorial at the northwest corner of Honolulu Avenue and Ocean View Boulevard. Scheduled to attend are Representative Judy Chu, State Senator Anthony Portantino, Assemblymember Laura Friedman, Los Angeles County Supervisor Kathryn Barger, Glendale City Councilmembers Paula Devine and Ardy Kassakhian. Presentation of the colors will be done by members of American Legion Post 288.

Glendale City Hall

On May 29 at 9:30 a.m. at the corner of Broadway and North Isabel Street near Glendale City Hall. Keynote scheduled speaker is Col. David Chianello, U.S. Marine Corps. He served in combat during Operation Desert Shield and Desert Storm as part of Task Force Ripper. His unit was vital in critical missions, including attacks on key targets such as Emir’s Ranch, Al-Jaber Military Airport and Kuwait City International Airport.

The ceremony will be emceed by GPD Chief Manuel Cid and will include remarks from Mayor Dan Brotman, an invocation by GPD Chaplain Mel Barnes and a flag salute by Sebastian Ochoa, nephew of USMC Lance Corporal Pedro Barboza Flores who was killed in Afghanistan in 2009 and whose name is on Glendale’s Memorial Wall. Hoover High School’s Paris Austin and Angela Ghazarian will perform the National Anthem. Color guard will be by GPD.

Burbank Historical Society

The event begins at 2 p.m. and ends at 3 p.m. It is on Saturday, May 27 at the Gordon R Howard Museum, 1100 W. Clark Ave. in Burbank. Those with questions can call (818) 841-6333 or email The website is Vietnam veteran Mickey DePalo is a scheduled guest speaker. The event will also honor the oldest WWII veteran at age 102 in Burbank. 

An additional event includes a memorial service on May 29 at Memorial Park, 1301 Foothill Blvd. in La Cañada, part of the Fiesta Days schedule.