Huntington Beach’s Memorial Day Hits Home
With the Pacific Ocean as a backdrop, more than 600 people paid tribute to fallen U.S. troops at a Memorial Day observance next to the Huntington Beach Pier.
Among those honored at Monday’s event were the city’s war dead since World War I, including the latest, No. 94: Marcus Glimpse, a 22-year-old Marine lance corporal killed by a roadside bomb April 12 in Iraq’s Al Anbar province.
Guy Glimpse proudly wore his son’s dog tags around his neck, while relatives and friends donned replicas.
“I try and keep a good sense of humor,” he said. “It’s the only way I keep from crying.”
The event featured the playing of taps and a performance by a women’s vocal group.
Max Ladish, 22, and Marcus Glimpse had become close friends in high school. The two would spend hours playing video games and watching “The Sopranos” on television.
“He always wanted to make you laugh,” said Ladish, who lives in Rancho Palos Verdes.
The ceremony was among dozens across the Southland that honored America’s war dead, including a gathering at Los Angeles National Cemetery in Westwood attended by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa.
“We are honoring the men and women of the armed forces who gave their lives to preserve our country and to preserve our freedom,” said Schwarzenegger, who landed in a U.S. Coast Guard helicopter amid grave markers adorned with small U.S. flags. “I’m humbled by being here to pay tribute to such brave men and women.”
In Huntington Beach, Guy Glimpse said his son wasn’t athletic but a “computer nerd” who gained weight and muscle in boot camp and turned into a leader. His son joined the Marine Corps after his twin brother, Michael, became an Army paratrooper and also served in Iraq.
Among those attending the memorial were the entire Huntington Beach City Council, Orange County Supervisor Jim Silva, Assemblyman Tom Harman (R-Huntington Beach) and U.S. Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-Huntington Beach).
“Just the fact that so many people are here, that so many came, is so overwhelming,” said Marcus Glimpse’s mother, Maryan.
Harman told the crowd that Memorial Day “isn’t just about taking a day off from work or about having a barbecue.” He then handed Guy and Maryan Glimpse U.S. and California flags that had flown over the state capitol.
Silva urged “proud Americans” to fly the U.S. flag in front of their homes.
“And the next time you see a military person, go up to them and extend a hand and say, ‘Thank you,’ ” he said.
Scott Watson of Huntington Beach brought his 8-year-old son Liam to the observance after they went surfing. Dad wore surf trunks, Liam a wetsuit.
“He’s learned that war is not good and that many women and men get hurt and die,” Watson said, looking at his son. “But I told him that if he wanted to be a soldier that I’d be very proud but sad if anything happens to him.”
Liam said he thought military people “are the best.”
After the ceremony, Guy Glimpse said a stranger’s condolences brought his emotions to the surface.
A man accompanied by his two children walked up, shook Glimpse’s hand, provided a few words of comfort and left.
“He told me that he will never let his children forget of the sacrifice that my son made,” Glimpse said, fighting back tears.
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