Blue and Gold Star mothers of men and women who have served in the U.S. Armed Forces stood solemnly in front of Litchfield Park’s World War II Memorial early Monday, May 25 as the calls of quail mingled with the recorded words of Billy Ray Cyrus’ “Some Gave All” during the opening of the city’s live-streamed Memorial Day ceremony.
“All gave some, some gave all. Some stood through for the red, white and blue and some had to fall. And if you ever think of me, think of all your liberties and recall, some gave all,” Mr. Cyrus sang as the camera panned the memorial display on the grounds of Litchfield Elementary School.Litchfield Park residents typically come together at the site on Memorial Day to remember America’s war dead, but the city opted this year to hold a virtual ceremony because of the COVID-19 pandemic and current Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidance recommending against gatherings of 10 or more.
When the song ended, Mayor Thomas L. Schoaf welcomed those watching the ceremony on the Litchfield Park’s Special Events Facebook page.
“We’re glad you could join us today. Our Memorial Day display will remain in place until 7 p.m. today,” he said. “We have prepared an honor and remember book and board for visitors to leave a note or write the name of a loved one who gave their all serving our country.”
The display can be found on the west side of the school, 255 E. Wigwam Blvd.
Mr. Shoaf gave a history of the holiday and said the memorial monument at the school holds the names of 184 Litchfield Park residents who served in WWII, eight of whom were killed in action.
“Today, we pay tribute to all men and women who died defending our freedom. A grateful nation thanks and honors you,” Mr. Schoaf said before the Blue Star Moms of the Southwest Valley, accompanied by a Gold Star mother, placed a large wreath with red, white and blue flowers at the monument. The wreath was donated by Litchfield Park Albertsons.
“We are honored to have a Gold Star mom participating in our ceremony today,” Mr. Schoaf said. “A Gold Star mother is the mother of a U.S. soldier who died while serving our country.”
After “Taps” played, the mayor read a proclamation remembering Americans who have given their lives on the battlefield.“Due to the COVID-19 crisis, numerous ceremonies are not taking place this year, so I ask that all citizens of the city of Litchfield Park observe a brief moment of silence to honor all veterans,” he read. “I encourage all people in our city to join me in honoring those who have died for this country.”
The ceremony closed with Lee Greenwood’s “God Bless the USA.”
“God bless you and all who have served, past and present, and will serve in the future,” the mayor said.
Several of those who watched the live stream thanked the city for holding a virtual ceremony.
“We were there last year and it was beautiful,” Tracy Glass commented.
“Forever grateful for their service,” Linda Poppie Byrd added.
Kelly O’Sullivan can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 760-963-1697. For up-to-date local reporting on all things COVID-19, Independent Newsmedia has created a webpage dedicated to coverage of the novel coronavirus: #AZNEWSMEDIA