Thursday, May 27, 2010

Around Town: Public and private memorials

By Anita Brenner

May 27, 2010

Memorial Day means different things to different people.

For some, it is a chance to proudly watch their Brownie Girl Scout participate in a flag ceremony.

There is nothing wrong with that feeling.

For others, it is a chance to smile as they watch their kids parade, roller blade, stroller-stroll, or ride down Foothill Boulevard in La Cañada Flintridge's Memorial Day Parade.

There is nothing wrong with that smile.

For others, it is a day out of a busy schedule, to dust off the barbecue, to reconnect with friends or to sit around the swimming pool.

There is nothing wrong with these wonderful moments.

But for others, the center of Memorial Day is the need to remember those who have been killed in wartime. For the veterans who take the stage, this is the one day in La Cañada Flintridge when they can give voice to their memories of fallen comrades.

Elianna Yolkut, a conservative rabbi, recently pointed out that memories and memorials can simultaneously be public and private. The public memorials are the stories we tell, the anecdotes that we are able to put into words, experiences that we are capable of sharing. There are also private memories, the touch of a hand, a particular scent, or what the departed meant to us. Those private memories cannot be put into words and cannot be shared. Memorial services are important because they allow us to experience our unspoken memories in a community setting. This gives us strength.

Rabbi Yolkut's words allowed me to take another look at our Memorial Day services in La Cañada Flintridge's Memorial Park.

When you bring your child to the Memorial Day Service on Monday (and I hope that you will), you will be giving your child the gift of community.

The ceremony itself is a public memorial. When your child hears the names of the fallen, he or she will have the tangible gift, in this transient world, of roots. Your child will have the knowledge that these names are not from some history book or movie. These are the names of many boys and two girls who lived here, in La Canada Flintridge, who walked down Foothill Boulevard, stood near the same park, worked, loved, attended school and enjoyed a good barbecue.

For many of us, the ceremony also evokes private memories. For me, Todd and J.P. are not merely names on a plaque. When our veterans take the stage, your children will witness a public memorial. Our veterans will simultaneously experience their unique private, unspoken memories of their lost friends.

Some people do not attend the Memorial Day service. There are Vietnam vets who spend the day hiking in the local mountains. This is their day to remember. Afterward, they come home down the mountain. They return to their busy and productive La Cañada Flintridge lives.

Thank you to Joe Puglia and his predecessor, Don Hingst, for organizing the Memorial Day service. Thank you to all our veterans for their service to our country.

Thank you for bringing your children to the service.

And, thank you to the fallen:


PVT Willard Griswold Barnum, USA

PVT Howard McMullin,USA


CPT John Edward Doherty, USA

1LT Joseph Connor Doherty, USA

2dLt Richard P. Monroe, USMC

2LT Donald J. Kanoff,USA

SSG Lewis A. Salmon,USA

2LT Daniel R. Shuler,USA

2LT Roscoe E. Woodbury, USA

TEC4 Harold E. Lotze,USA

1LT Anne G. Hemphill,USA, WAC

2LT William H. Curland,USA

CPL Harvey G. Traveller,USA

2LT Robert A. Claussen, USA

1LT George F. Hallihan,USA

LT Earle D. Davis, USN

Capt. Patrick G. Leonard, USMC


Maj Francis N. McCollom, USAF


CAPT James Reginald Bauder, USN

WO Loren Eugene Engstgrom, USA

Sgt Roy Allen Fryman, USMC

LTJG William Pederson,USN

WO Roger Clark Rose,USA



LT John Charles Sweet,USN


1LT Todd J. Bryant, USA

2dLt James P. Blecksmith, USMC

SPC Carla J. Stewart, USA

CPT Luke Wullenwaber, USA

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