Pierce Brothers Valley Oaks-Griffin Memorial Park was host to its 29th Annual Memorial Day Remembrance Ceremony to pay tribute to our fallen heroes from all wars. “We are proud to host this important event and to provide a place for our community to gather and remember those who gave their lives for our country,” said Tamara Eacker, general manager of Pierce Brothers Valley Oaks-Griffin Memorial Park. “We hope that all who mourn can find peace as we honor their loved ones.”

Pierce Brothers Valley Oaks-Griffin Memorial Park was host to its 29th Annual Memorial Day Remembrance Ceremony to pay tribute to our fallen heroes from all wars. “We are proud to host this important event and to provide a place for our community to gather and remember those who gave their lives for our country,” said Tamara Eacker, general manager of Pierce Brothers Valley Oaks-Griffin Memorial Park. “We hope that all who mourn can find peace as we honor their loved ones.”

The Air National Guard Band of the West Coast provided a pre-ceremony concert. The traditional Avenue of Flags was part of the more than 1,400 flags adorning the graves of our fallen veterans. The event began with an assembly bugle call and an impressive fly over of 5 veteran war aircraft, including a B25 bomber from the Air Force.

In attendance were The 23rd Marines Color Guard, Jerry Knotts, Colonel, USAF, (Ret), Conejo Valley Chapter, Military Order of the World Wars, Robert Melsness, Colonel, USAF, (Ret), past president of Conejo-Simi Valley Chapter, Military Officers Association of America (MOAA), Major Gary Dickey, Deputy Chaplain, CA Wing, Civil Air Patrol Chaplain Corps / USAF Auxiliary, Representatives from all five branches of services, Veterans of Foreign Wars. The Memorial Day Choir, comprised of singers from the Village Voices Chorale, the United Methodist Church of Westlake Village, Valley Harmony Singers, Emmanuel Presbyterian Church, Temple Judea, and the Forever Young Singers provided the musical entertainment.

The Memorial Day Remembrance Ceremony is produced by members of the Conejo Valley Chapter Military Order of the World Wars, the Conejo-Simi Valley Chapter of the Military Officers Association of America, the DiRaimondo Chapter No. 750 of the Military Order of the Purple Hear, the Eric Huberth Post No. 1139 of the Veterans of Foreign Wars, the 23rd Marines, 2nd Battalion, Camarillo Composite Squadron 61, Group 4, California Wing, USAF Civil Air Patrol, Village Voices Chorale, United Methodist Church of Westlake Village, Emmanuel Presbyterian Church, Temple Judea, The Valley Harmony Singers, Pierce Brothers Valley Oaks-Griffin Memorial Park, and other civic-minded individuals and organizations.

If you missed this year’s tribute then place it on your calendar for next Memorial Day because we all owe it to our fallen veterans to recognize their sacrifice for our freedom.

On this day I choose to remember a young man who died 50 years ago – 1969 – in Vietnam. His name was David “Bud” Wilson. He was my next door neighbor at the time. Bud was a lively young guy who was full of fun and energy. He rode a motorcycle and drove a jeep. He was cool. In fact, I remember vividly riding in the back of that jeep as we drove around the neighborhood honking at our friends with my sister sitting next to me and hanging on for dear life. And laughing the whole time. At 7 years old that was so much fun! He would let me sit on his motorcycle and I would make engine sounds to mimic riding around a race track. I recall his mom yelling at him one afternoon as he rode that motorcycle right into the house! Bud was quite a character. He went into the army at 19.

In his first brush with death Bud was hit with shrapnel and received a Purple Heart. He recovered from that injury and was soon back in the war zone again. The next time he wasn’t so lucky. He died when the guy in front of him stepped on a land mine. Bud Wilson was just 20 years old. We were all devastated. His family never recovered from the loss. And to this day his sister still speaks of the tragedy, after 5 decades, as if it were yesterday. Let’s not forget the “Bud’s” of the world.

Thank You to all that serve in our military!

Armed Forces Medley on Memorial Day in Westlake Village, CA