Continuing an annual Northeast L.A. tradition since 2003, the Friends of Cypress Park Community Improvement Association will again host a Memorial Day observance beginning at 11 a.m. on Saturday, May 28, at the Cypress Park Veterans Memorial to honor the war dead of local communities as well as those still missing in action.
Community organizations, area National Guard unit, local veterans' organizations, City and County elected officials and church leaders will join together in memory of those who have died or been captured in the course of military service.
The 2011 Memorial Day weekend event will again be held at the Veterans Memorial site (at the intersection of Cypress Avenue and Pepper Avenue). Guest speakers are expected to include City Councilmember Ed P. Reyes, among others.
The ceremony will include the traditional laying of a wreath of remembrance at the memorial site, the honor guard's replacement of torn and worn American and MIA flags, as well as a moving "empty chair" ceremony for MIAs conducted by veterans and members of the National Guard.
Veterans who live in the Cypress Park area, as well as survivors of the nations' war dead are encouraged to take part in the ceremonies.
Distinct from Veterans Day in November (which honors all who have served in the military), Memorial Day calls for Americans to especially remember and show thanks for those who lost their lives as a result of wartime service. Originally known as "Decoration Day," the annual observance was first started to honor the more than 600,000 American lives lost during the U.S. Civil War (1861-85), then expanded following World War I to cover all wartime fatalities -- estimated at more than 1.3 million since 1775.
The memorial event is open to all. Following the solemn ceremonies, a free luncheon will be served for veterans and their families and friends in attendance, to be held at the Rio de Los Angeles State Park, 1900 San Fernando Road.
The Cypress Park Veterans Memorial is the product of volunteer work organized by the Friends of Cypress Park in 2002, funded by a Los Angeles Neighborhood Matching Funds grant, and completed in 2003 primarily through local volunteer labor. The Friends of Cypress Park Community Improvement Association, Inc.-- a 501(c)3 non-profit service organization--welcomes new volunteers and meet at 6:30 p.m. the first Monday of each month in the Los Feliz Room of the River Center in Cypress Park (570 W. Avenue 26, Los Angeles). The group oversees community improvement efforts working with Los Angeles city government and other local organizations.