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Ceremony brings comfort to community Richard Peña | Sat, May 18 2013 12:00 PM

One of the most positive actions, even laudable, is the joining of two or maybe three organizations within the community for the purpose of doing something for the public good. It is especially laudable when those joining are of much different persuasions.

I am sure that many such unions exist and are spreading the common good in the South Bay.  At this time I wish to highlight one such union that has been around since 1977.  In a few days it will demonstrate to the community its importance by reminding us of the valor of the American fighting man and woman that has been the hallmark of our military since the birth of the nation.

For the past 36 years officials from the Glen Abbey Memorial Park and Mortuary and members from the Fleet Reserve Association of Chula Vista have teamed in presenting to the community an outdoor observance of Memorial Day.  On May 27, a Monday, at 11 a.m., on the grounds adjacent to the Little Chapel of the Roses a ceremony will be held that will honor all those who have died in the nation’s wars.

Memorial Day has a long and storied history.  It had its start shortly after the Civil War to honor the dead of both sides.  In later years it spread, honoring the dead of all wars and its name was changed from Decoration to Memorial Day.  It is a federal holiday and it is observed in many communities with parades and other formal events.

In my growing up years in high school I was in my school’s ROTC unit.  One of the highlights of the organization was the participation in parades, the Decoration Day parade being one them. There was much pomp and ceremony involved in those affairs. I think my high point was, seeing in uniform, members of past wars. I know that I am dating myself but I am sure that in one of those early parades we saw Civil War veterans riding along the parade route.

The other day I met with Irene Marquez, Sean Bulthuis and Charles Bailey at Glen Abbey.  They are the principals, the guiding force, that is, that keeps this tradition alive in Bonita.  Each year the lawn area, adjacent to the rows of roses outside the chapel becomes the outdoor theater for the ceremony that will honor the nation’s war dead.  From there a ceremony is conducted that will feature music, a guest speaker and a flyover by military aircraft.

As in previous years the contingent from the Fleet Reserve will be led by Gus Hermes.  He is assisted by members of the unit that includes his wife, Georgina.  Gus and I have something very much in common. We both graduated from San Antonio, Texas high schools and entered the U.S. Navy shortly after graduation.  As you might expect, there were quite a few years separating these graduations.

The Memorial Day observance at Glen Abbey is one of the highlights of the year in Bonita.  It is something that should be shared by all and, as we said, a remembrance of the military individual who made the supreme sacrifice. 

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