Memorial Day Ceremony at Pierce Brothers Memorial Park Westlake Village

Remember what Memorial Day is for: remembering. We get a day off to honor the men and women lost in the line of duty to our country and freedom.

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Last year I brought my children to the Memorial Day Ceremony at Pierce Brothers Memorial Park in Westlake Village to expose them to the solemn reason behind this holiday. I can explain it to them, but I thought a ceremony of this magnitude would drive the point home a little bit better, since their lives are so removed from the sacrifice, danger, and violence of war.

IMG_2921the war memorial at Pierce Brothers Memorial Park in Westlake Village

This year will be the 25th annual Memorial Day Ceremony at the park on Lindero Canyon Road just north of the 101. Members from all branches of the military attend and are honored throughout, as soldiers and officers make speeches, sing tributes, and play music. Last year there was a flyover of military airplanes. Members of the Veterans of Foreign Wars accept donations and hand out poppies to passersby, reminders of the millions of people who have died in service.

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On the weekend of Memorial Day, children from Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts and other organizations place flags on the graves of passed soldiers to commemorate the occasion. By the time you arrive at Pierce, the red white and blue are fluttering everywhere.

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The ceremony starts tomorrow at 10:30 AM. Arrive early to get a parking spot – we got there about 30 minutes early last year and managed to get parking inside the park, but overflow parking was available at the shopping centers nearby. There was plenty of seating by the grandstand, but families also spread blankets to sit on in the grass.

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The music and solemnity moved me greatly. I could not hold back my tears, especially when the announcer listed each American war from our lifetime and invited living veterans to stand and be recognized. Each stood to emotional applause.

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It was a hot day, and I hadn’t brought snacks or water, so the children were restless although they asked a lot of questions about the wars and the different military services and I answered them if I could. On the way back to the car, my older son stopped to talk with the men handing out poppies. He told them how his Great Grampa, who died in 2012 at the age of 93, was a soldier in WWII. He put a dollar in the jar and proudly accepted a poppy to wear in remembrance.

great grampa soldierMy father’s father, WWII

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20131204110005_00003AMy other grandparents, who served in the Army and the Navy WAVES

The ceremony is free and incredibly moving.  Arrive early and bring snacks, water, and sunscreen. And tissues. It’s a sad occasion, but I recommend it for any family. By now there are very few of us who are not touched by war in some way.

Memorial Day Ceremony

Monday, May 25, 2015
10:30 AM – 12:00 PM
Pierce Brothers Memorial Park
5600 Lindero Canyon Rd
Westlake Village, CA 91362
(818) 889-0902

Comments

  1. Wow, haven’t seen that picture of my parents in a long time. Thanks honey.

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