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Memorial Day celebrated across Southern California

A Memorial Day observance ceremony was held at Green Hills Memorial Park in Rancho Palos Verdes on Monday, May 28, 2012.
May 28, 2012 12:00:00 AM PDT
Southern Californians on Monday took part in Memorial Day events to honor and remember fallen U.S. troops.

More than 5,000 people participated in the Memorial Day observance at Green Hills Memorial Park in Rancho Palos Verdes.

Recognized as one of the most popular Memorial Day celebrations in the nation, the 27th annual observance included speeches from dignitaries, the Patriot Guard Riders and military flyovers. The event concluded at noon with a 21-gun salute and the release of white doves as a symbol of peace.

Memorial Day Parade in La Canada Flintridge

Thousands turned out in La Canada Flintridge for the 36th annual Memorial Day parade to honor war heroes who made the ultimate sacrifice.

The celebration began with a flag ceremony at the Memorial Park, complete with an honor guard and marching band. U.S. veterans in the crowd were called to the stage to be recognized. Local politicians joined students and other residents along the parade route on Foothill Boulevard.

"It's just always so touching. I always have tears in my eyes for the men and women that get up and talk about their experiences," said Laura Olhasso, mayor pro tem of La Canada Flintridge.

West Coast Thunder in Riverside

In Riverside, more than 7,000 motorcyclists gathered for the 13th annual West Coast Thunder. Riders headed to the Riverside National Cemetery and then continued to the Soboba Casino for a concert.

Since 2000, the motorcycle event has raised $350,000 for the Riverside National Cemetery Support Committee. The money has funded repairs for the National Congressional Medal of Honor Memorial and built the Prisoner of War/Missing in Action National Memorial.

"What it means to me is just letting the troops know that we're out there, we care about them, support them, and we still think of the ones who are still missing. We haven't given up on them yet," said rider Harry Palmer of Riverside.

This was Palmer's fourth time taking part in the event. His son has been a Marine for 21 years. He also lost some friends in the Vietnam War.

24-hour vigil in Boyle Heights

In Boyle Heights, veterans, their families, and community members planned a 24-hour vigil at the All Wars Memorial. At least one person is chosen to stand guard for 30 minutes at a time. Visitors can also post pictures of their fallen loved ones. WWII casualties honored in Seal Beach

Among those remembered this Memorial Day weekend were the thousands who lost their lives on submarine crews in World War II.

Fifty-two U.S. submarines were lost during that war. Each was honored by the spouse of a submarine vet as they dropped a flower in the reflecting pool at the U.S. National Submarine Memorial - West at Naval Weapons Station Seal Beach.

During WWII, more than 3,500 men lost their lives on board those Navy submarines.

"We pay tribute to their fighting spirit, their tenacity and their singular focus on victory in the face of tremendous odds," said Commanding Officer Eric Severseike of the USS San Francisco.

Memorial Day weekend gas prices hit all-time high in Southland

For many, Memorial Day also meant getting away for the weekend. The price of gas dropped in Southern California for a dozen days in a row, but it was still the highest ever for the holiday.

The Los Angeles average was $4.30 for a gallon of regular unleaded, up from $4.07 last year. Similar numbers registered throughout the region.


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