This Is The First Time A Public Ceremony Had Been Held In Three Years
The Los Angeles National Cemetery held a special Memorial Day ceremony on Monday, May 29, 2023, to honor and remember those who have made the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom. The event took place at the newly reopened cemetery, which underwent a significant expansion project in 2019.
The ceremony featured performances by the 300th Army Band and 300th Army Band vocalist Danielle Roy and a presentation of colors by mounted Buffalo Soldiers led by Ron Jones and under the direction of Dr. Mark Ryan.
The Master of Ceremonies was Chaplain Dov Cohen, Vietnam War Chaplain Chairman Emeritus LA National Cemetery Support Foundation. The Pledge of Allegiance was led by
WWII USA Dr. George Stanley and Sandra Stanley & John Lockett, Founder – Veterans Independence Day Celebrations & Phil Banos, President – Veterans Holiday Celebration.
The Invocation was given by Father Tom Gibbons, Paulist Productions. Glen Schecter, President of the Los Angeles National Cemetery Support Foundation, gave the Welcome to the crowd. The POW/MIA Ceremony was led by Col. Steven Miska, USA, Ret., Temoc Meza, Glen Schecter & Ronnie Guyer.
Remarks were made by Temoc Meza, U.S. Army Veteran and Director of the Los Angeles National Cemetery, Karen Bass, Mayor of the City of Los Angeles, Major General Evan C. Dertien, Commander of Edwards Air Force Test Center, and the Benediction was given by Rabbi David L. Wolpe.
While Memorial Day has been observed at the site of what is now the Los Angeles National Cemetery for over a century, a public event for Memorial Day hasn’t been held since 2019 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This year’s ceremony marks a significant return to honoring the fallen heroes in a public gathering. The ceremony was touching and heartfelt and was an opportunity to meet the veterans and the leaders of the Veterans Administration as well as hear them speak.
The Los Angeles National Cemetery, a revered fixture in West Los Angeles since 1889, reopened in 2019 after a closure of four decades. Thanks to a columbarium expansion, the newly created cremation-only annex covers over 13 acres and caters to the burial needs of more than 90,000 veterans and eligible family members. This expansion has breathed new life into the cemetery, providing a sacred resting place for those who have served their country. The National Cemetery Administration (NCA) is also commemorating its 50th year of service.
On June 18, 1973, President Nixon signed the National Cemetery Act, which led to the creation of the National Cemetery System, effective September 1, 1973. As part of this system, the VA took over 82 Army Cemeteries, resulting in a total of 102 VA National Cemeteries. Presently, the NCA oversees 155 National Cemeteries and provides grants to 122 state, territorial, and Tribal Veterans cemeteries.
This significant expansion of burial options ensures that 94% of veterans living in the U.S. have access to a VA or VA-funded cemetery within 75 miles of their homes. It reflects the commitment of the VA to provide fitting final resting places for those who have served their nation.