A DAY TO REMEMBER: CROWDS GATHER AT CEREMONIES ACROSS THE REGION TO HONOR FALLEN TROOPS
Christopher Cadelago

Glendale News Press
http://www.glendalenewspress.com/news/gnp-memorial060110,0,3842238.story
June 1 2010
CA

Nine months have passed since Lance Cpl. Pedro Barboza Flores, of
Glendale, was killed when a roadside bomb exploded near his vehicle
in southwestern Afghanistan.

For the hundreds of people who gathered at Memorial Day ceremonies
across Glendale, Burbank and Montrose, Barboza Flores' life was
celebrated among the names of fallen service members, bagpipes,
benedictions, patriotic hymns and roses.

Barboza Flores, 27, a recipient of the National Defense Service
Medal and the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, was less than
two months into his first tour with the Marines when the improvised
explosive device detonated near his vehicle.

"This year has been especially hard for our family," said his sister,
Aurora Alamillo. "He missed his first Christmas, his first Mother's
Day. Even though he was already in his mid-20s when he joined, he
was still my little brother."

Born in Zacatecas, Mexico, his family moved to the United States when
he was 1. A student at Glendale High School and Glendale Community
College, "Pete" joined the Marine Corps in March 2008, was promoted to
lance corporal in December and was crewman in a light-armored vehicle.

He was deployed in June to Afghanistan for Operation Enduring
Freedom, and died July 11 alongside Master Sgt. Jerome D. Hatfield,
36, of Axton, Va. Barboza Flores was stationed at Camp Lejeune
in North Carolina, where he was assigned to the 2nd Light Armored
Reconnaissance Battalion in the 2nd Marine Division for the II Marine
Expeditionary Force.

His bereaved family joined hundreds of people Monday at Isabel Street
and East Broadway in Glendale. Master of Ceremonies Larry Zarian,
noting the historically large crowd, recognized a large contingent
of veterans on hand before turning his attention to families who lost
loved ones.

"I cannot begin to tell you how thankful I am, how appreciative I am,
on behalf of our committee and on behalf of the veterans that are
here today," Zarian said. "There are veterans out in the audience that
are injured from their time in the service. And there are those that
would rather be here today, but they're not, and their names are on
the walls instead."

Mayor Ara Najarian followed the color guard, flag salute and
prisoner-of-war/missing-in-action memorial, presented by retired Lt.

Col. Dave Worley, of the U.S. Air Force, with a special note to a
group of veterans whose uniforms had an unusual look.

"These are Armenian veterans who fought in World War II with the Soviet
Union," Najarian said. "Now for those of you who are not up to date on
the history, we were allies with the Soviet Union during World War II,
and these soldiers had a valiant fight on the Eastern Front fighting
the Nazis. They lost many, many men, and paid dearly with their lives."

The men said they attended the memorial to commemorate the lives of
American troops -- not who gave their lives, but whose lives were
taken from them too soon.

A veteran, as Los Angeles County Supervisor Mike Antonovich told
residents of La Crescenta and La CaƱada Flintridge at the Vietnam
War Memorial in Montrose, is someone who wrote a blank check made
payable to the United States of America for an amount up to and
including their life.

The Crescenta Valley High School Charismatics struck up several
patriotic renditions as members of the high school's Air Force Jr.

ROTC program took part in the laying of the roses.

At Forest Lawn-Glendale, the 95th annual Memorial Day March began at
the Little Church of the Flowers and proceeded to the burial site of
a soldier who served in the Civil War.

Burbank's annual exercise in remembrance was an opportunity to reflect
on the lives of those who never returned from World War I, World War
II, Korea, Vietnam and wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. To date, more
than 5,400 U.S. troops have died while serving in the two countries,
584 of them from California, according to records kept by the Los
Angeles Times.

Hundreds of residents joined troops and elected officials at
McCambridge Park for the city's official ceremony, where members
of the Veterans Commemorative Committee read the names of nearly
300 local troops who died serving in World War II, Korea, Vietnam,
Afghanistan and Iraq.

Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Burbank), after visiting injured troops in Germany
on a recent trip to the Middle East, spoke of the struggles many go
through when being away from home. He referenced a soldier who was
abroad when his 3-year-old child drowned. And state Sen. Carol Liu
implored visitors to observe a national moment of silence at 3 p.m.

Boy Scouts placed roses atop memorials, and a musical prelude gave
way to a flyover by the Condor Squadron.

For many, including chairman of the Veterans Commemorative Committee
Mickey DePalo, the renaming of Pacific Park in honor of Marine Cpl.

Larry L. Maxam spoke plainly to the city's commitment to its fallen
sons. Maxam was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor by President
Nixon for "conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his
life above and beyond the call of duty" in the Vietnam War.

Army Sgt. Kevin Christoffersen, one of a handful of young veterans
honored by the city, returned last year after 13 months in Iraq. He
spoke of his heroes, reading a poem about Memorial Day.

Among Mark Ehrhardt's military heroes is his father, Elmer, 95.

Elmer Ehrhardt, of Cincinnati, served in the U.S. Army railway
transportation battalion in Iran during World War II. He was among
a group of about 50,000 servicemen in Iran who supported America's
lend-lease program with the Soviet Union, helping to move goods
through the Persian Gulf.

"After 9/11 I felt it was important to attend these ceremonies and
publicly announce my support of the men and women in our military,
especially when you start to take note of their tremendous sacrifice,"
Mark Ehrhardt said. "We should never take that for granted."




From: A. Papazian