LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) – Memorial Day events, both virtual and in-person, were being held across the Southland Monday to remember those service men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice.
A reading of names of service members who have died in combat since 9/11 began at 5:30 a.m. at Rosie the Riveter Park in Long Beach. Active-duty military, law enforcement, first responders and veterans read the names.
Evelyn and Carlos Baltierra were among those at the Long Beach tribute. Their son, 18-year-old Pfc. Bryan J. Baltierra, was one of eight Marines and a sailor who were killed in an amphibious assault vehicle training accident off the coast of San Clemente Island in July of 2020.
“He was a beautiful, bright Mama’s boy. He was a little son, my only son,” Evelyn Baltierra told CBSLA.
“It’s really hard to get your mind around what they experienced, it was unbelievable,” Carlos added.
Santa Clarita’s Memorial Day Tribute was held at Eternal Valley Memorial Park. The tribute included a flyover by the Condor Squadron of World War II North American Aviation AT-6 airplanes.
Rep. Mike Garcia (R-Santa Clarita) spoke. Following the ceremony the audience will be invited to the Veterans Memorial Wall for the reading of the more than 900 names inscribed on it.
The Condor Squadron will also conduct a flyover before Monday’s Los Angeles Dodgers-St. Louis Cardinals game at Dodger Stadium.
Forest Lawn held a live virtual celebration of Memorial Day on its Facebook page beginning at 10 a.m.
The keynote address was delivered by U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Jennifer Burghdorf and her husband, U.S. Air Force Maj. Andy Burghdorf.
Archbishop Jose H. Gomez celebrated a special Memorial Day Mass at Holy Cross Cemetery and Mortuary in Culver City honoring the men and women who died while serving in the U.S. military.
Before Mass began, a military honor guard/color guard played “God Bless America.” Following Mass, a bugler will play taps.
The Battleship Iowa, which is docked at the Port of Los Angeles in San Pedro, stream a virtual ceremony, “Remembering All Our Heroes,” at 10 a.m. on its YouTube page.
The ceremony will be followed by the “Celebration of the American Spirit” musical performance by South Bay classic rock band The Jokers.
What organizers are calling a small, Memorial Day service was held at Pierce Brothers Valley Oaks Griffin Memorial Park Mortuary and Crematory in Westlake Village at 10:45 a.m.
This is the 31st consecutive year the memorial park has held a Memorial Day observance.
Carson’s virtual Memorial Day tribute will begin at 6 p.m. and be streamed on the city’s website. The keynote address will be delivered by Cliff Smith, author of “Mindfulness Without the Bells and Beads.”
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.
(© Copyright 2021 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. City News Service contributed to this report.)