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.
PHOTOS: Glendale Memorial Day event
“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.
“They gave their lives so we could enjoy our freedom, a life to pursue our dreams, a life to express ourselves without fear of reprisal and countless other rights granted by our Constitution and the Bill of Rights,” Glendale Mayor Dave Weaver said. “So on this solemn day it is our sacred duty as a nation to stand in silent respect for those men and women who gave their lives in defense of our freedoms.”
Patricia Chase attended the service as a way to remember her husband, William Chase, who died three years ago. He was a World War II veteran and received a Bronze Star for bravery and a Purple Heart, she said.
“Going to Memorial Day services was always very special to him, so every year I do something special," she said.
At the Veterans Memorial outside of Glendale City Hall, businessman David Gevorkyan reminded the audience to remember the prisoners of war and those missing in action.
“We must all remember those we depended on to go into battle for they depend on us to bring them home,” he said.
Cal Drake, an ex-Marine, came to honor his father, Hubert, who was there for the invasion of Normandy. After getting wounded twice in battle, he returned, and was killed in Germany at the age of 38, Drake said.
“I feel good about being able to honor him,” he said. “But I honor all veterans, period.”