In a speech before the casket draped in Old Glory, Chief Master Sergeant Noel Furniss quoted General George S. Patton, saying, "We should thank God that such men lived."

Big Bear Lake, CA — This morning’s Memorial Day ceremony, lakeside at Veterans Park in Big Bear Lake, was a moving tribute, in word and song, to honor our military veterans. Before the Fallen Warriors of Big Bear Valley memorial wall, Mayor Liz Harris welcomed those in attendance “to honor those who so valiantly serve our country, in times of war and peace” and noted that “our freedoms are the envy of many.” On this, Memorial Day, keynote speaker Chief Master Sergeant Noel Furniss, a veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps, Coast Guard and the Air Force, reminded, “It’s not a day of fun, it’s a day of remembrance. Today is not a day to honor war, but a day to honor our fallen war dead.” He then led those at Veterans Park in reciting the oath of American servicemen and women, later singling out the words: “support and defend, true faith and allegiance, so help me God.” The Chief, as he is known to the Big Bear Valley Marine Corps Detachment 1038 and the American Legion Post 584, said of those who have taken the oath: “They chose to be warriors, and protect us from harm. Let us never, ever forget. We can never forget what the cost of freedom is about.” He also asked that we, each American, renew our pledge to honor all military widows, mothers, fathers, brothers and sisters. “Remember the freedoms you so enjoy,” he added, “God bless America and God bless our fallen troops.” Today’s Day of Remembrance was dedicated to U.S. Marine Lieutenant Don Brown, a member of our American Legion who passed unexpectedly on May 23. Master of Ceremonies Steve Schindler, with the local Marine Corps Detachment, asked that ceremony attendees make a point of hugging our veterans and saluted three young men, each of whom gave their life in Iraq or Afghanistan, dubbing them our “Big Bear heroes”: U.S. Army Chief Warrant Officer 3 Rex Kenyon, U.S. Army Specialist Adam Rosema, and U.S. Marine Corps 1st Lieutenant Jared Landaker. In closing prayer, Reverend Tom Goodman of the Legion closed with “Never, ever, ever forget the magnitude of their sacrifice.”

The May 31 ceremony at lakeside Veterans Park was preceded by a bagpipes-led procession through the Village.

Bob Shurr's performance of "Taps" was a poignant moment during the ceremony, which was attended by local Boy Scout troop 49 and Girl Scout troop 1351.

The ceremony closed with opportunity for attendees to place a red carnation atop the casket, as is being done here by Steve Schindler.