LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) – With cemeteries closed to the public and several annual Memorial Day ceremonies and tributes canceled this year because of the coronavirus pandemic, many events honoring those who made the ultimate sacrifice were taking place virtually.

A Memorial Day tribute in the front yard of a home in Garden Grove, Calif. May 25, 2020. (CBSLA)

In Garden Grove, the group Honoring Our Fallen set up a tribute in the front yard of a home on Saint Mark Street, complete with pictures and flags. It also included a classic car which had the names of the nearly 7,000 soldiers who have died serving the U.S. since 9/11.

The nonprofit group normally gathers at the Memorial Wall at Rosie the Riveter Park for a reading of names, but was forced to cancel that gathering.

Instead it was doing a virtual reading of the names from its Garden Grove headquarters.

Meanwhile, the Southwest Regional Council of Carpenters placed 500 flags on a fence bordering the L.A. National Cemetery in Westwood.

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The 131st Memorial Day Celebration at the L.A. National Cemetery began at 10 a.m. The keynote speech was 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 L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti was also played. Rep. Ted W. Lieu (D-Torrance) appeared from Washington, D.C.

A Los Alamitos interchange of the 605 Freeway was being named Monday in memory of a Long Beach soldier killed in the line of duty in Afghanistan, it was announced today.

The interchange of the 605 Freeway at Katella Avenue will be designated the U.S. Army Sergeant Thomas R. MacPherson Memorial Interchange.

Born in Long Beach, MacPherson, 26, was killed during a heavy firefight on Oct. 12, 2012, during combat operation in the Ghazni Province of Afghanistan.

Archbishop Jose H. Gomez celebrated 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. It could be livestreamed here.

Forest Lawn also held a live virtual celebration at 10 a.m. on its Facebook page. It included 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, http://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.

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.

(© Copyright 2020 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. City News Service contributed to this report.)


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