This year the park-like city of Cerritos put on another memorable program to honor the memory of the fallen soldiers who bravely served so we may enjoy the simple freedoms of life in America, and so the oppressed around the world may live a life out from under the boot of tyranny. This is what Memorial Day is all about.
The weather was perfect, sunny skies, a light breeze and a mild temperature. The setting is the East Lawn of the Cerritos Civic Center, the site of the Cerritos Veterans Memorial.
Cerritos Mayor Bruce Barrows welcomed all in attendance, including Cerritos Mayor Pro Tem Mark Pulido, Council members Joseph Cho, Carol Chen, George Ray, Jim Edwards, and decorated Navy Veteran and Superintendent of Valley Christian Schools Richard Suttie who delivered the invocation. The National Anthem followed as the United States Marine Corps Honor Guard from the 1st Combat Engineer Battalion presented the nation’s colors.
The Cerritos College Band played a rousing medley of songs from each branch of the United States Military. Those military members seated in the audience stood up when they heard their branch song. Some stood up for multiple songs.
The somber part of the program came in two parts. First, Lieutenant Colonel Andrew R. Winthrop, Commanding Officer, 1st CEB USMC presided over the Battlefield Cross Ceremony in honor of Lance Corporal Steven P. Stevens, II, 23 of Tallahasse, Florida, and Lance Corporal Alec R. Terqiske, 21 of Dubois, Indiana. Next came the laying of the wreaths to honor the fallen, including Lieutenant Colonel Mario Carazo, fallen Cerritos hometown hero.
Once the wreathes were in place, Mayor Barrows asked for a moment of silence. That silence was broken by “Amazing Grace” performed on bagpipes. By now, most in attendance were reaching for their handkerchiefs.
The Cerritos College Band closed things out with a rendition of “America The Beautiful” followed by the benediction from Richard Suttie.