Memorial Day is a day born out of the Civil War period, when families of Union and Confederate soldiers decorated the graves of their lost soldiers without regard to which side they fought on. On May 5, 1868 General John Logan, National Commander of the Grand Army of The Republic declared in his general order #11 that the 30th of May was to be dedicated for the purpose of remembering fallen soldiers by decorating graves with flowers, therefore certifying the day as Decoration Day, which was later changed to Memorial Day.
For the past 67 years, the City of Inglewood has celebrated Memorial Day by honoring the many brave men and women of the armed forces who have served the country with pride and dignity.
The service was opened by veteran Bill Murphy and VFW 2122 Post Commander Ralph Duncan who welcomed everyone out and provided background information on the City’s Memorial Obelisk. “As you look over to the marble monument, names were added when our country was in conflict after WWI, Korea, and Vietnam, no other names have been added since the building of this monument. It is fitting that we honor all those names on the monument, and all veterans of our community.”
Mayor James Butts addressed the audience and made a personal dedication, “Memorial Day is meant to remind us of the great sacrifices of those that have died in service to this country. More than 6700 members of the American Military have died in Afghanistan since the conflict began in late 2001. Among them are 736 Californians and an additional 490 men and women, who are assigned to bases in this state. I want to talk today about one of those Californians that I know personally and that I remember often. Yesterday was the 10th anniversary of the death of Major Rick Crocker, a Marine Reserve who died in Haditha Iraq on May 25, 2005 in an RPG Missile attack. He was a Santa Monica Police Officer, that I hired during my tour of service there. I had the honor of being his Chief, he was my co-worker and my friend, he was an example of courage and service for the community.”
Congresswoman Maxine Waters addressed the audience to discuss available opportunities for veterans. “Many have returned home, only to be met with meager employment prospects, not enough support. One of the ways that we can honor the fallen, is to respect and honor the men and women who have returned home.”
Bill Murphy took the next moment to honor the servicemen and women in the audience and allowed them to introduce themselves, followed by a keynote speech given by Lamont Duncan a former Marine who served in Vietnam. “We all know that an unfortunate consequence of war is casualties and deaths. There’s a monument in Inglewood Cemetery honoring our veterans upon which there is a scripture reading from Isaiah, Chapter 2, Verse 4. It says, ‘He shall judge between the nations and decide disputes for many peoples, they shall beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks, nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war anymore.’ Well, we have not quite reached that point yet, but it does give us hope. So, while you enjoy the Memorial Day sales, barbecues, and family outings, maybe, just maybe, for a moment, remember those that have died, so that you can enjoy this day in peace.”