Thursday, June 13, 2024

Coronado Honors Those Who Gave All During Memorial Day Service

A Marine bugler plays taps during the Memorial Day Service at Star Park Circle May 27.

Coronado held its annual Memorial Day Service in Star Park on Monday, May 27 at 10 am. A large crowd gathered to honor those that have died in service to our Nation, while community organizations and members brought tributes to acknowledge the sacrifice of loved ones gone too soon. According to the program, “The Coronado Memorial Day Service has been a tradition since the Great Depression. It is held in memory of our fallen comrades who have made the supreme sacrifice. Our fallen comrades will not be forgotten by those of us who enjoy the freedoms they fought and died for.”

The Memorial Day Service was organized by a number of local Veterans groups including the General Henry D. Slyer Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) Post 2422; Silver Strand Chapter, Military Officers Association of America; Navy League of the United States, Coronado Council; and Marine Corps League, Coronado Detachment.

Coronado High School NJROTC led by Claire Hickey, Cadet CPO, did the Presentation of Colors.

Christian Ellinger, Col, USMC (Ret.), was the emcee for the event that began with a Presentation of Colors by the Coronado High School NJROTC unit and singing of the National Anthem by Ms. Julia Gonzalez Price. The VFW Post Chaplain, Fred Yerrick, read the invocation, followed by Robert Busby, LtCol, USMC (Ret.) reading General Logan’s 11th General Order, saying “The 30th day of May, 1868 is designated for the purpose of strewing with flowers or otherwise decorating the graves of comrades who died in defense of their country during the late rebellion, and whose bodies now lie in almost every city, village, and hamlet churchyard in the land. In this observance no form or ceremony is prescribed, but posts and comrades will in their own way arrange such fitting services and testimonials of respect as circumstances may permit.”

A large crowd gathered for Coronado’s Memorial Day Service at Star Park Circle

Coronado Mayor, the Honorable Richard Bailey, gave the Memorial Day Proclamation saying “…We recognize the men and women of our armed forces who are on-guard, protecting the security of our great nation and the liberties we hold so dear, and who are pledged to fight against tyranny, aggression and terrorism. On this day, Coronado proudly and solemnly joins cities and towns throughout our Nation dedicating today as Memorial Day, to honor and memorialize the fallen heroes of our armed forces. Let each of us offer silent prayer to our fallen heroes and comrades in arms; on behalf of the City Council it is my honor to recognize and proclaim May 27th, 2024 as Memorial Day throughout the City of Coronado.”

Vice Adm. Dan Cheever provided the keynote address at Coronado’s Memorial Day Service.

This year’s Memorial Day Service guest speaker was Vice Adm. Dan Cheever, Commander US Naval Air Forces. Providing heartfelt remarks that honored local legends, stories of heroic sacrifice and a personal tribute to friends he lost while in service, Cheever’s speech resonated with the crowd.

“Thank you all for remembering those that died while serving in our armed forces, at home and abroad, in combat or in training and some while off-duty. No matter how short or long their service, we will remember. So many gave so much, but those we remember today gave all.” Cheever went on to say,  “I remember LT Butch O’Hare from WWII who was our first Medal of Honor winner and our First Ace, Butch, Rita and Cathleen lived two doors down from the VFW in Coronado. Thank you to the VFWs in Coronado and Imperial Beach for allowing us to do our first annual Butch O’Hare Memorial Ride on Friday.”

Cheever shared inspiring quotes from President Franklin D. Roosevelt and President Harry S. Truman, and spoke of the importance of remembering and honoring those lost and dedicated to preserving our freedom. Cheever closed his remarks saying, “I thank God I live in this great nation, that I am part of this great Navy, and part of this great community. I am thankful to those that serve and will always remember those that died while serving.”

All those that would pay tribute to the fallen with flowers or memorabilia sat next to the stage.

From organizations like the Tailhook Association, The Navy SEAL Foundation, Military Officers Association of America, Silver Strand Chapter and the Coronado Council of the Navy League, to Gold Star families of the fallen, tributes were made and moments of silence were taken to honor those that died in service.

Gold Star Wife, Mrs. Mikale Chambers and daughter Kennedy Chambers honored Navy Special Warfare Operator 1st Class Christopher J. Chambers.

Gold Star Wife, Mrs. Mikale Chambers, and daughter Kennedy Chambers honored Navy Special Warfare Operator 1st Class Christopher Chambers  by laying flowers in his honor, after having just had his memorial ceremony this past April. Petty Officer Chambers was lost in the Arabian Sea January 11, 2024, during a mission to confiscate Iranian-made weapons from an unflagged vessel.

A presentation was offered for all Frogmen and SEALs that have fallen in defense of this great country.

A presentation for all Frogmen and SEALs that have fallen in defense of this great country was presented by the Navy SEAL Foundation and former SEALs, UDT and Navy special operators. “From Normandy Beaches, the Pacific Islands, the Inchon Landing, the Vietnam Delta, the deserts of Iraq to the mountains of Afghanistan, the Frogmen, SEALs and Special Warfare Combatant Crewman have carried their special operations to the enemy,” said Chris Ellinger as he read the tribute. “Trained on the beaches of Coronado and Little Creek, Virginia, these warriors have made the conscious decision to put other lives ahead of their own. They have bravely answered their nation’s call and made the ultimate sacrifice.”

Local Coronado Girl Scouts laid a wreath in honor of all fallen service members.

After the memorials were all placed, the 11th Marine Regiment Honor Guard conducted a rifle salute followed by the playing of Taps by the 1st Marine Division Band bugler. The crowd joined Ms. Julia Gonzales Price in singing God Bless America to conclude the event.

Video compilation by Tony Perri, Coronado Beach Company:


Jeannie Groeneveld
Jeannie Groeneveld
Jeannie is a retired Naval Aviator and Public Affairs Officer whose post-Navy career includes freelance writing, PR Consulting and a two year stint as the San Diego Padres Military Affairs Advisor. Having been stationed in various parts of the country including Washington D.C., Florida and Hawaii, Jeannie appreciates how amazing the Coronado community is and loves the experience her children have had growing up here. Jeannie earned her BS in Marine Biology from Auburn University, her MS in Global Leadership from the University of San Diego and her MA in Communication and Media Relations at San Diego State University. A life-long learner and avid traveler Jeannie enjoys writing travel pieces, Navy stories and anything else that will broaden her perspective. When she is not working you will find her watching her boys play sports, walking Odin at dog beach, hiking, playing beach volleyball or spending time with the family.Have news to share? Send tips, story ideas or letters to the editor to: [email protected]

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