Memorial Day 2024: Where to honor fallen heroes in LA County

Five-hundred U.S. Navy sailors marched across the Sixth Street Viaduct Monday -- joining the array of traditional Los Angeles County Memorial Day observances that also included the 32nd Canoga Park Memorial Day Parade.

The walk to pay tribute to fallen U.S. military personnel began at noon on the Boyle Heights side of the viaduct, with sailors forming 10 rows abreast and 50 deep, according to Branimir Kvartuc, the media representative for LA Fleet Week. Members of the public are welcome to follow.

The walk was held in conjunction with LA Fleet Week, the annual, multi-day celebration of the nation's sea services.

The Canoga Park Memorial Day parade honored Canoga Park High School graduates who gave their lives in military service since World War II. The opening ceremony began at 10 a.m. and included a wreath laying at the Wall of Honor and presentations by retired U.S. Army National Guard Maj. Gen. Peter Gravett, the parade's grand marshal, along with local, state and federal elected officials.

The parade began at 11 a.m. at the intersection of Sherman Way and Owensmouth Avenue and proceeded east to Cozycroft Avenue, with more than 75 entries, including veterans' organizations, equestrian teams, military units and high school bands, according to organizers, who expected 30,000 to 35,000 people to line the parade route.

The Memorial Day Observance at Green Hills Memorial Park in Rancho Palos Verdes began at 10 a.m. and included skydivers, a procession of colors, including a mounted posse, civilian and military flyovers and a performance by Navy Band Southwest.

The keynote speaker was retired U.S. Army Maj. Gen. Mark A. Graham, who served in several key command and staff positions in the United States, Germany and South Korea.

Jack Knight, 85, who served four years in the Army, walks through Los Angeles National Cemetery, in Los Angeles, CA. (Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images) (Getty Images)

In his 2012 retirement ceremony at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, which also honored his wife Carol, Graham noted their sons Jeff and Kevin "died fighting different battles."

Kevin Graham died by suicide in 2003 while a senior ROTC cadet studying to become an Army doctor. Nine months later, 2nd Lt. Jeff Graham was killed by a roadside bomb in Iraq. Since then, the Grahams have dedicated themselves to helping people in the military and the civilian world learn about and prevent suicide.

The observance will be streamed at with-green-hills-livestream-2024/.

The Honoring Our Fallen Memorial Day Reading of Names of the 7,057 Americans who have died in combat and training exercises since the 9/11 attacks as reported by U.S. Central Command began at 5:30 a.m. at Rosie the Riveter Park in Long Beach with a bagpiper tribute.

Members of Gold Star families, local active-duty military, law enforcement, first responders and veterans assisted in reading the names of the fallen in order of death as inscribed on the park's memorial wall. The nonprofit organization provides support for families of service personnel killed in the line of duty during the transfer of remains.

In addition, new nameplates were unveiled to honor those who gave their lives in World War I, World War II, the Korean War, Vietnam War and Gulf War, along with law enforcement officers and firefighters who died in the line of duty, Herzog said.

Archbishop José H. Gomez presided over a special outdoor Memorial Day Mass at Resurrection Cemetery and Mortuary in Rosemead, honoring the men and women who died while serving in the U.S. military. The 10 a.m. Mass was streamed at and

Joseph Pietroforte, a U.S. Army sergeant during World War II who fought in the Battle of the Bulge and was a member of the 5th Infantry Division commanded by Gen. George S. Patton, was among the speakers at the Memorial Day Remembrance at the American Legion's Hollywood Post 43.

Memorial Day ceremonies and observances were also planned for 8 a.m. for Hawaiian Gardens City Hall; 9 a.m. at Lancaster Cemetery, Lacy Park in San Marino and Whittier City Hall; 9:30 a.m. at Acton Community Center and Glendale City Hall; 10 a.m. at Park Lawn Cemetery in Bell Gardens; Cerritos Civic Center, the 42nd Rainbow Division Monument in Exposition Park, Forest Lawn memorial parks in Covina Hills, Hollywood and Long Beach; Veterans Park in Lomita; Los Angeles National Cemetery in Westwood; Eternal Valley Memorial Park in Newhall; and Mines Avenue Veterans Monument in Pico Rivera; 11 a.m. at Inglewood City Hall, Del Valle Park in Lakewood Norwalk City Hall, and Wilmington Cemetery; and 1 p.m. at Forest Lawn Glendale.

In his Memorial Day proclamation, President Joe Biden proclaimed Monday as a day of prayer for permanent peace, designating 11 a.m. in each time zone as a time during which people may unite in prayer, citing a 1950 joint resolution by Congress.

Biden also asked all Americans to observe the National Moment of Remembrance beginning at 3 p.m. in each time zone under a bill signed into law in 2000 by then-President Bill Clinton. It was first held on Memorial Day in 2000 under a proclamation by Clinton in an attempt "to reclaim Memorial Day as the noble event it was intended to be, to honor those who died in service to our nation."

The Moment of Remembrance is a "way we can all help put the memorial back in Memorial Day," its founder Carmella LaSpada said.

Biden's proclamation also requested governors of all U.S. states and territories and the appropriate officials of all units of government to direct that flags be flown at half-staff until noon on Memorial Day on all buildings, grounds and naval vessels throughout nation and in all areas under its jurisdiction and control.

Biden also requested the American public to display the flag at half- staff from their homes until noon Monday.

"This Memorial Day, we honor the brave women and men who made the ultimate sacrifice for our nation's freedom," Biden declared in his proclamation. "We recommit to keeping our sacred obligation to their survivors, families and caregivers.

"Together, we vow to honor their memories by carrying on their work to forge a more perfect Union."

What became Memorial Day was first observed on May 30, 1868, as Decoration Day, a time for the nation to decorate the graves of the Civil War dead with flowers.

It was established 25 days earlier by Maj. Gen. John Logan, national commander of the Grand Army of the Republic, an organization of veterans who fought for the Union in the Civil War. It is believed that date was chosen because flowers would be in bloom all over the nation.

By the end of the 19th century, Decoration Day ceremonies were being held on May 30 throughout the nation. After World War I, the holiday was changed to honor Americans who died fighting in all wars.

The term Memorial Day was first used in 1882, became more common after World War II and declared the official name by federal law in 1967.

Memorial Day had been observed on May 30, until being moved to the last Monday in May in 1971 under terms of the Uniform Monday Holiday Act, which became law in 1968.