Monday, May 30, 2016

'They are the reason people are able to go shopping at the mall today...'

Tributes to the fallen today in Los Angeles.

At the Los Angeles Times, "L.A. gathers for ceremony at National Cemetery, home to '80,000 stories of bravery'":
The weather was warm and sunny with a soft breeze, a perfect day to head to the beach, fire up the grill or hit the outlet sales. But for Rafael Vila, the only destination that made sense Monday was the flag-dappled lawn of Los Angeles National Cemetery.

 “I don’t know if there’s any place else I’d rather be than honoring people who served,” said Vila, a Vietnam-era Navy veteran from Long Beach. With graves stretching in perfect lines behind him, he said the sacrifice of the military made possible the freedoms Americans love.

“They are the reason people are able to go shopping at the mall today,” Vila said.

Vila and his wife, Angelica, were among hundreds who gathered at the cemetery Monday morning for a ceremony featuring music, prayer, reenactors on horseback and a salute to the Tuskegee Airmen, the all-African American World War II flying squadron that paved the way for military integration. Eight members of the group, including Walter Crenshaw, a 106-year-old believed to be the oldest living Tuskegee Airman, attended and received a standing ovation.

The crowd was enthusiastic, but many said it should have been larger, especially given the number of Americans currently deployed abroad. More than 88,000 veterans and family members are buried on the 114-acre Westwood property, which opened in 1889.

“God bless you for taking the time to be here,” the keynote speaker, retired Army Lt. General Rick Lynch, told the gathering. Lynch, whose four-decade military career included commanding 25,000 in the Iraqi surge, said he starts every morning in prayer for the 153 of his troops killed in that campaign...

That's a lot of veterans buried there, along with family members. And the cemetery's right across the street from the Wilshire Federal Building, where the hard-left anti-American radicals routinely hold protests. The clash of values has never escaped me. Frankly, it's always front and center in my consciousness whenever I'm there. (Remember, from 2014: "Communists, Hamas Solidarity Protesters Demand Israel's Extermination in Los Angeles — #ANSWERLA.")