Many traditional Memorial Day observances in Los Angeles County will still be held Monday but on a virtual basis because spectators are barred due to the coronavirus outbreak.
The 131st Memorial Day Celebration at the Los Angeles National Cemetery in Westwood will begin at 10 a.m. and be broadcast on KABC-TV Channel 7 and streamed on abc7.com and the new ABC7 Los Angeles connected TV apps for Amazon Fire TV, Android TV, Apple TV and Roku.
The ceremony is described by KABC as a distanced experience. The station will use multiple cameras and drones to produce a broadcast of the featured guests’ presentations, performances and dedications.
The keynote speech will be delivered by U.S. Army Brig. Gen. Michael Leeney, deputy commanding general of the 40th Infantry Division, based at Joint Forces Training Base-Los Alamitos.
A recorded tribute by Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti will be played. Rep. Ted W. Lieu, D-Torrance, who will appear from Washington, D.C.
Rabbi Ed Feinstein from Valley Beth Shalom Synagogue in Encino will lead the invocation. Monsignor Frank Hicks from St. Basil Catholic Church in Koreatown will give the benediction before the traditional “Echo Taps.”
The Lindy Sisters, who bill themselves as a vintage 1940s trio, will sing “The Star-Spangled Banner,” “I’ll Be Seeing You,” “The Military Branch Melody” and the closing song, “Amazing Grace.”
The additional speakers appearing on-site from four stages spatially placed throughout the cemetery to adhere to social distancing include:
— Retired U.S. Air Force Brig. Gen. Ruth Wong, director of the Los Angeles County Department of Military and Veterans Affairs;
— Dr. Steven Braverman, director of the VA Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System;
— Emmett O’Meara, district director for the Veterans Benefit Administration;
— Bob Kurkjian, regional president of the USO;
— Jimmy Weldon, a World War II veteran and the retired voice of the Hanna-Barbera cartoon character Yakky Doodle;
— Jennifer Campbell, the commander of the American Legion’s Hollywood Post 43; and
— Jere Romano, the commander of the American Legion’s Ronald Reagan Palisades Post 283.
Archbishop Jose H. Gomez will celebrate a special Memorial Day Mass at 10 a.m. at Holy Cross Cemetery and Mortuary in Culver City honoring the men and women who died while serving in the U.S. military.
The Mass will also include a tribute to those who have died during the coronavirus pandemic and have not had funeral Masses.
The Mass will be livestreamed on CatholicCM.org and Facebook.com/lacatholics.
“Memorial Day is a day of remembrance, and it is also a day to keep alive the life and memory of so many men and women who unselfishly gave their lives for our country,” Gomez said.
“Jesus said that there is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for a friend, and the men and women we remember today were people of great love. So let us honor the memory of those who served by living and defending the values they died for.”
Forest Lawn will hold a live virtual celebration at 10 a.m. on its Facebook page, www.facebook.com/ForestLawn. It will include a special message from Los Angeles Controller Ron Galperin, patriotic music and a Scottish bagpipes and drums performance by Harry Farrar.
Pierce Brothers Valley Oaks Griffin Memorial Park Mortuary and Crematory in Westlake Village will present its 30th annual Memorial Day Program that will be streamed from 2:45-3:15 p.m. on its Facebook page, www.facebook.com/PierceBrosValleyOaks.
The program will include live music, a moment of silence, a flyover and an address by retired U.S. Air Force Col. Jerry Knotts.
Memorial Day in Los Angeles County will also be marked by a flyover of an 18-plane formation of historic warbirds. The 70-90-minute flyover will begin at noon near Loma Linda University Medical Center, then fly over the Riverside National Cemetery and several locations in Orange County.
In Los Angeles County, the aircraft will fly over the Tibor Rubin VA Medical Center in Long Beach, the Queen Mary, the Battleship Iowa, which is docked at the Port of Los Angeles in San Pedro, Green Hills Memorial Park in Rancho Palos Verdes, Zamperini Airport in Torrance, Los Angeles International Airport, Santa Monica Airport, Los Angeles National Cemetery, the Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center, the Los Angeles County-USC Medical Center and City of Hope National Medical Center.
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 might 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.
He also requested the American public to display the flag at half-staff from their homes until noon Monday.
“This year marks the 75th anniversary of the Allied victories over Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan in World War II,” Trump declared in his proclamation.
“As we commemorate these seminal events, we also remember the tremendous cost at which these victories came. More than 400,000 souls of the Greatest Generation perished during this titanic struggle to liberate the world from tyranny.
“In his address to the nation on Japan’s surrender, President Truman’s words remind us all of our enduring obligation to these patriots for their sacrifice, `It is our responsibility — ours, the living — to see to it that this victory shall be a monument worthy of the dead who died to win it.’
“As we pause to recall the lives lost from the ranks of our armed forces, we remain eternally grateful for the path they paved toward a world made freer from oppression.”
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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