Speaking at a Memorial Day service in Montrose, Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Burbank) recalled a young man he had nominated for the Naval Academy in 2006.
Four years later, that man — William McIlvaine of Burbank — graduated with honors and his lifetime dream of becoming a military pilot came true. Three months ago, McIlvaine was killed when his plane crashed, Schiff said.
“It's a beautiful thing to have people who are not afraid to risk it all, but when it is redeemed so young, it's a terrible thing,” he said.
Similar remembrances played out at Memorial Day ceremonies across the region on Monday as crowds gathered to honor those who, like McIlvaine, have made ultimate sacrifice.
A flyover by the Condor Squadron kicked off the city of Burbank's ceremony at the McCambridge Park War Memorial, where Mayor Emily Gabel-Luddy thanked people “who came to honor their family members who died in battle.”
Names of those who died in past wars were read during the Ceremony of the Rose, Mickey DePalo, chairman of the Burbank Veterans Committee. The reading would include, for the first time, the names of four men killed during World War I: Manuel Chafino, Harry L. Colton, Ray F. Enos and James McCloud.
Opening remarks were made by Marine Staff Sgt. Dustin Real, recently returned from a tour in Afghanistan. While there, he received and distributed items sent from the local organization Hands Across the Battlefield.
“Thanks for all the care packages, hygiene items, letters from the school kids and personal letters from members of the board,” he said. “When the guys return from patrol, they haven't showered in a month or two and they open up a box of snacks or food, there are no words, it's something from home and it lets us know that everybody back home is still supporting us, and there is a great sense of appreciation."