Memorial Day 2021 by Ben Marder

This year I was invited by a longtime friend of mine on Memorial Day to participate in setting up American flags at the gravestones of our men and women who served in our Armed Forces in past wars so gallantly and honorably. I was invited by Barry Chapman, Branch Chief Food Services Division- Pacific Area. U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary. This was at the Veterans Los Angeles National Cemetery in West L.A., CA.

We were sent to the oldest section of the cemetery. In this section were the headstones of men and women who served in the Spanish-American, WWI – II, and Korea. Present that morning was Nick Ut, a Vietnamese Pulitzer Prize winning photographer who covered the Viet Nam War in Viet Nam, Cambodia, and Laos for the Associated Press. 

I’m beginning my 29th year in the Barbershop Harmony Society singing with the San Fernando Valley Chapter, Valley Harmony Singers. For several years our chorus has been a part of the Memorial Day Choir at the Conejo Valley Memorial Day Services in the Garden of Valor. This is held at the Valley Oaks Memorial Park, in Westlake Village, CA.  Afterward over 100 of the service participants and guests were treated to a wonderful Barbeque.  Because of the Covid-19 Pandemic and the, “Stay at Home Order” they postponed 2020-21 services. Soon most restrictions will be lifted, and once again we will all get back to the pleasures of our daily lives. These for me are singing in person, dinning at our favorite restaurants, and being with and hugging our friends and family members.