By Jim Tortolano
The Stars and Stripes were everywhere on Monday at Westminster Memorial Park. The 45th annual Memorial Day Service there was framed against a backdrop of star-spangled banners, the grand old flag celebrated in song and poetry and placed over the gravesites of all the military veterans resting in the verdant expanses of the lawns at Beach Boulevard in Westminster.
Mayor Tri Ta addressed a crowd that included veterans, dignitaries and local citizens who came to pay tribute to those who “gave the full and final measure of their devotion for our freedom.”
“We come together to remember our heroes,” he said. “To remember their achievements, to remember their courage and their dedication and to say ‘thank you’ for their sacrifices.” He went on to say “in Westminster we never forget our fallen heroes and our veterans.”
Ta cited the story of Marine Lance Corporal Kenneth Worley who sacrificed himself by covering a live grenade with his body during the Vietnam War in 1968, saving the lives of his fellow Marines. He was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor.
“I’m proud to say,” said Ta, choking up, “that this amazing man … is buried … right here in Westminster.”
The event’s agenda included a performance of “American Pride” and the National Anthem by the Westminster High School marching band, posting of the colors by the Magnolia High School ROTC cadets, a recitation of “My Name is Old Glory” by Gregory Pierce and a duet of “Proud to Be An American” by Pierce and Debi Wheeler-Ure.
Wreaths of remembrance were presented by a dozen local veteran and civic groups. The observance closed with the release of a flight of white doves.
Other Memorial Day observances were held Monday at Magnolia Memorial Park in Garden Grove and at the Pier Plaza in Huntington Beach.