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Memorial Day Service at Pioneer Cemetery

Monday, May 26, 2003


Sierra Madre VFW Post 3208 Honors The Fallen With Memorial Day Service at Pioneer Cemetery....In a service attended by more than 100 people Monday, VFW Post 3208 honored American servicemen who have given the ultimate sacrifice for their country.  After a brief welcome by Past Commander Jack Wolfe of Post 3208, Girl Scout Troop 10, from Sierra Madre Congregational Church, opened the ceremonies with the Pledge of Allegiance and the National Anthem, on which they were accompanied by the Sierra Madre Chorale and the guests in attendance.  Visiting servicemen Marine Lance Corporal Loren Zimmerman of Camp Pendleton, whose father is a past Commander of Post 3208, and Sierra Madrean Eric LeClair of the Reserve National Guard were acknowledged and introduced themselves, and then Barbara Kline of the Pioneer Cemetery Assn. got up and thanked Association President George Enyedi for his invaluable contributions to the fact that the cemetery is in such great shape, both financially and physically.  She also thanked Chris Cimino, who oversees the maintenance of the cemetery.  Then the first speaker got up, Reverend Spencer Edwards, who is also past president of the Pioneer Cemetery Association.  Reverend Edwards spoke of non-traditional heroes, heroes who don't charge the machine guns, or shoot down planes from the skies above.  He spoke of men like Walter Reed, James Carroll and Jesse Lazear.   He spoke of how during the Spanish-American war at the turn of the century, more people died of Yellow Fever than died in combat.  And of how Dr. Reed and Dr. Carroll researched the possibility of mosquitoes as carriers, and how Lazaer gave his life to help prove the theory.  For more on the history of yellow fever and these great men, click here.  More music was provided by the Chorale, and then speaker Doug Hayes got up to speak.  He thanked the VFW for asking him to speak, noting that speakers at such events tend to be veterans, and that he was honored that they had chosen him.  He spoke of his respect for veterans, particularly World War II veterans, whom he said "saved the world."   He stated that he had recently visited Brakett Airport in Pomona, where he had had the chance to check out some of the B-17 and other aircraft used by the Armed Forces, and how, having ridden in one for less than an hour, he had newfound respect for the airmen who flew in these planes hour upon hour, day after day, in temperatures as low as 40 below zero.  He spoke of realizing as he did so, that as magnificent as these machines were, the real story was in the men who had manned them, most of whom were "just kids" when they joined the service.  He spoke of talking with veterans and how each had stories to tell, and of sitting on the asphalt talking at length with a veteran, so hunched over in his wheelchair that you knew he was not able to stand on his own, and how he, Doug, recognized that this hunched over man was one of the "tallest" men he'd ever met.  He spoke of his respect not only for the veterans of WWII, but of Korea, Vietnam, and the Persian Gulf Wars.  He lamented the "cultural thing" that the country went through during Vietnam, and the attitude that greeted many Vietnam vets upon their return.  He stated that he was glad to see that the country, in the last few years, has re-awakened to the reality that all veterans deserve our respect, for putting themselves on the line, as he said "for doing the JOB."  He acknowledged his respect for veterans of past wars, and of the current conflict, and future veterans, those who will someday fight future wars.  He closed by noting that his father, a veteran who passed away last year, would have said, yes, it's a holiday, go to the beach, have your picnics, but first, spend a few moments acknowledging the veterans who made it possible.  He then thanked the servicemen who were in attendance, noting that "you're in our hearts, be safe, and God bless."   The VFW officers then placed the traditional wreath, flowers and flag, on the ceremonial grave.  The Chorale sang "Sleep Soldier Boy", ad the Post Honor Guard than saluted the deceased with a volley of rifle shots.  The ceremony was closed by Richard Carey, an Arcadia High School bugler, playing Taps.  Click on a picture below to see it larger.

Crowd shot shows all ages were in attendance

Girl Scout Troop 10, prior to service

Sierra Madre Chorale, prior to service

Crowd, prior to service

Councilmember Doug Hayes speaks with local resident

Crowd shot, from the west

The armed forces were represented

VFW Post 3208 Honor Guard, prior to service

The Girl Scouts have moved into position

Chorale's almost ready

Lots of stars and stripes in the clothing worn by attendees

Another crowd shot

Councilmember Hayes sits with wife, Dr. Janice Nelson, prior to service

Crowd shot, from the rear of the dais

Commander Jack Wolfe of the VFW welcomes everyone

Troop 10 led the attendess in the Pledge of Allegiance

Just the Troop this time

The Chorale "helped" Troop 10 with the National Anthem

Lance Corporal Zimmerman, Reservist Eric LeClair


Rev. Spencer Edwards

The Choir again

The Honor Guard again

Keynote speaker Councilmember Doug Hayes



VFW Honor Guard member Gordon Caldwell places a wreath

Followed by a white flower

A red flower

and a blue one.  Also, Bill Newbery placed a flag, but we didn't get a  picture of him

Here's the ceremonial grave

Honor Guard stands

And fires

Richard Carey, an Arcadia High School bugler, playing Taps

Certificate placed at dais by VFW

Certificate placed at dais by VFW


Rev. Edwards chats with SMPD Officer Keith Abbott



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