Fullerton, CA – The 70th anniversary of the D-Day and the role played by the U.S. Army’s 101st Airborne will be the focus of a special salute Monday, May 26, at the 76th Annual Fullerton Memorial Day Observance. The program will begin at 10:00 a.m. and will be held at Loma Vista Memorial Park. The event is free to the public.
The program is sponsored by the nonprofit American Veterans Memorial Association and the City of Fullerton.
Special guest speaker will be COL Valery Keaveny, Jr., Commander of the 101st Airborne “Currahees” (Easy Company) made famous in the “Band of Brothers” mini series. Commissioned in 1989 upon graduation from Florida Tech, Keaveny has commanded the 4th Brigade Combat Team (Currahee)/ 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) since December 2011. His combat and operational service includes Operation Uphold Democracy, Operation Iraqi Freedom, and two deployments in support of Operation Enduring Freedom, most recently returning from Afghanistan in February. Keaveny will arrive at the ceremony aboard an Orange County Sheriff’s Department Helicopter. Once the helicopter lands, he will be escorted to the podium by JROTC cadets from Fullerton Union and Troy high schools. Air Combat USA, based at Fullerton Airport, will perform a missing man flyover. Sharing the Memorial Day podium with Keaveny will be Ed Paul, adjutant of Fullerton American Legion Post 142 and coordinator of the American Veterans Memorial Association, who will serve as master of ceremonies.
Fullerton’s program is the oldest continuous Memorial Day ceremony in North Orange County, dating back to 1939 when C. Stanley Chapman, son of the city’s first mayor, began the tradition of placing a small white cross and an American flag at the grave of each veteran in Loma Vista. This year, community volunteers will place a cross and flag on more than 4,000 veterans’ graves throughout the cemetery.
Patriotic music will be sung by Dave Deno, creative director for radio stations KKLA, KRLA and KFSH, and Kristen Romero. Bagpipes will be played by Officer Kyle Baas, Fullerton Police Department. Officers from the Fullerton Police Department will present the gun salute, and “Taps” and “Echo” will be played.
Participating in the observance will be the Fullerton Firefighters’ Association, the Fullerton Police Color Guard, the U.S. Submarine Veterans of World War II, Fullerton American Legion Post 142 and the Post’s Commanders Club, 511th Parachute Infantry Regiment, Fullerton Emblem Club 469, Fullerton Rotary, Boy Scouts Troop 97, Fullerton Saturday A.M. Y’s Mens Club, and the Daughters of the American Revolution – Mojave Chapter.
Also assisting with the program will be the Buena Park Emblem Club 340, Fullerton Elks Lodge 1993, GFWC Ebell Club of Placentia, Placentia American Legion Auxiliary Unit 277, Womens Club of Fullerton, Fullerton Knights of Columbus Council 4018, Cub Scout Pack 1218, and Greenleaf Gardens Masonic Lodge 670.
Loma Vista Memorial Park is located at 701 E. Bastanchury Road, east of Harbor Boulevard.
Persons requiring special accommodations to attend the ceremony are asked to call Loma Vista Memorial Park at (714) 525-1575 prior to May 26. Further information about the Memorial Day observance may be obtained by calling (714) 871-2412.