The 17th Annual Candlelight Ceremony, held at the Lancaster Cemetery, was presented by Antelope Valley Detachment #930 Marine Corps League.
The event featured a flag ceremony by the Muroc Young Marines and the singing of the National Anthem by Amanda Dodson.
Guest speakers included Norm Hickling, field deputy for Supervisor Michael Antonovich, Palmdale Mayor Jim Ledford, and Lancaster Mayor Emeritus Henry Hearns.
Hickling asked attendees to reflect on all the great things they were able to do today, thanks to the men and women who died for our freedom.
“We’re here this weekend, able to spend time with our families, and have barbeques, and have a beer, and go swimming, and go to birthday parties, and spend time with grandkids because of the freedoms they gave us,” said Hickling. “And that is the greatest gift.”
Ledford said he came to the ceremony to honor his father, a career Marine. He said he also came out because it was his duty as a community leader.
“It’s pretty simple as a leader of a community to do your duty, your duty really is showing up for stuff like this,” Ledford said. “This is what leaders are supposed to be about, leading the community to show their support for veterans.”
Hearns, a Korean War veteran, said he was fortunate to have made it back when so many of his comrades didn’t.
“I’m honored to be here in the land of the free and the brave,” he said.
Hearns also presented a Certificate of Commendation to the A.V. Marine Corps League Detachment #930 on behalf of Lancaster Mayor R. Rex Parris and the City Council.
Local veterans’ organizations read the “Final Roll Calls” – the naming of members who have passed away since Memorial Day 2011.
Final Roll Call – Antelope Valley Detachment #930 Marine Corps
- Donald Ellsworth (U.S. Marine Corps)
- Herman Simon (U.S. Marine Corps)
- Captain Thomas G. Craft (U.S. Navy)
Final Roll Call – Palmdale Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 3552
- Edwin Allred
- Anthony Baal
- Glenn Bergen
- Gerald Brock
- Viva Comrack
- Russell Greathouse
- John Jones
- Charles Lindeen
- Ronald Morris
- George Olson
- Charles Schisler
- Thomas Specht
- Reese Story
- Edna Stow
- Vilas James
- Frank Ware
- Charles Wright
Final Roll Call – Palmdale Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 3552 Auxiliary
- Kathleen Jackson
- Margaret Pascoe
- Edna Stow
- Sherry Maher
The candlelight ceremony concluded with the audience singing “God Bless America.” Memorial Day Ceremonies in Lancaster and Palmdale will take place on Monday. Read more here.