Twentynine Palms -- For nearly 150 years, since the end of the Civil War, Americans have honored their fallen heroes. In 1971, Congress passed into law that Memorial Day would be recognized as a federal holiday on the last Monday of every May. The Combat Center participated in a service was held at the Twentynine Palms Cemetery, May 29, to honor those who paid the ultimate sacrifice in defense of the United States.
Members of the local community, relatives of service members, veterans of past conflicts, and several active-duty Marines from the base attended the ceremony.
For the event, Combat Center Commanding General Brig. Gen. William F. Mullen III served as the guest speaker and the invocation and benediction was delivered by U.S. Navy Cap. Stephen Lee, director, Combat Center Religious Ministries.
Mullen began his address with a reminder of why we recognize the holiday. “Remember that each and every one of those who fell was also a person with a story, a family, and a life that was cut too short,” Mullen said. “Over the past 31 years, I have seen young Americans killed in action, many of whom I knew personally. Memorial Day is no longer just a holiday for me, it has not been that way for many years. I know the names, faces, stories and sometimes families of those who made the ultimate sacrifice.”
Marines from the Combat Center’s Headquarters Battalion provided a color guard and rifle squad for the memorial ceremony. Following Mullen’s remarks, members of the community performed a wreath-laying, followed by a rifle salute and the playing of Taps, a custom that honors those who are no longer with us today.
The ceremony resonated with several members of the audience, including retired Marine Maj. Jerry Fabricus of Twentynine Palms.
“I have the utmost respect for [the Marines],” Fabticus said. “The ceremony was very touching. I come out here every year and I wouldn’t miss it for the world.”