PALMDALE/LANCASTER – Hundreds of residents gathered in Lancaster and Palmdale Monday morning to remember and honor the fallen heroes who gave everything for their country.
At Desert Lawn Memorial Park in Palmdale, a crowd of about 200 attended the annual Memorial Day Ceremony presented by the Antelope Valley Service Organization Association (AVSOA).
“By your presence here today, you understand that we cherish the ideals and values those soldiers stood for and died defending,” Master of Ceremonies Daniel Kirmel told the audience. ”Now, may we be uplifted and inspired…”
The hour-long ceremony featured the raising of colors and Pledge of Allegiance by Boy Scouts Troop 335 and an invocation by VFW Post 3552 Chaplain Gary Bassett.
For his invocation, Bassett read the Marine Prayer. He was followed by the singing of the National Anthem by Kirmel and a Table of Honor Ceremony presented by Highland High School Air Force JROTC.
Palmdale Councilman Tom Lackey stood in for Mayor Jim Ledford, who suffered a heart attack Sunday evening and was unable to attend the ceremony.
Lackey asked the audience to include Ledford and his family in their thoughts and prayers. He also asked the audience to recognize the many privileges afforded to them as U.S. citizens.
“The reason we enjoy such great privilege is because of the great sacrifices that our military men throughout the years have made for our behalf…” Lackey said. “May we all be mindful of the great service and sacrifice of our military.”
Remembering those sacrifices just once a year is not enough, said Ken Braham, American Legion Post 348 Commander.
“The widows, widowers, fathers and mothers, brothers, sisters and children remember every day,” Braham said. “The empty seat at the dinner, the smaller gathering on Thanksgiving, and the voice of a loved one heard only as a distant memory are constant reminders that they are gone.”
Palmdale resident Marsha Furman said fallen heroes should be remembered throughout the year, as well.
“In a way it’s kind of sad that we have to set aside a day legally to remember,” Furman said. “It doesn’t come so easy for our nation as a whole.”
Furman comes from a military family. Her dad was a veteran, she is an Air Force veteran, and her son is currently serving in the Air Force. Furman brought her two-year-old granddaughter Bailey Nickols to the Memorial Day Ceremony to carry on the family tradition.
“I want her to understand that this is a special day,” Furman said. “I want her to associate this all with the America flag, to pass it on.”
In Lancaster, about 300 residents gathered for a Memorial Day Remembrance Ceremony at the Veterans Court of Honor in the Lancaster Cemetery.
The presentation of the colors was conducted by the Muroc Young Marines; vocalist Khristy Moser sang the National Anthem; and Palmdale Boy Scout Troop #759 conducted a presentation of the Military Service Flags.
The Lancaster Cemetery District Trustees, The Marine Corps League Antelope Valley Detachment #930, and the Antelope Valley Blue Star Mothers placed memorial wreaths on a symbolic casket draped with an American flag.
The ceremony also focused on the dedication of a granite plaque honoring Antelope Valley veterans who served and those who were killed during Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom. View many more pictures from both events at our facebook page.