By Joyce Rudolph
Heroes abroad and at home were recognized Monday at the city of Burbank Memorial Day Ceremony at the McCambridge Park War Memorial.
A flyover by the Condor Squadron kicked off festivities led by Mickey DePalo, chairman of the Burbank Veterans Committee. The theme was “A time of song, word, remembrance and celebration.”
Names of Burbank residents who died in World Wars I and II, Korean, Vietnam and the Global War on Terrorism were read during the Ceremony of the Rose. And, for the first time, DePalo said, names of local residents who died while serving during World War I were read. They are Manuel Chafino, Harry L. Colton, Ray F. Enos and James McCloud.
Opening remarks were made by Marine Staff Sgt. Dustin Real. He just returned from a tour in Afghanistan. While there, he received and distributed items sent from the local organization Hands Across the Battlefield.
“Thanks for all the care packages, hygiene items, letters from the school kids and personal letters from members of the board,” he said. “When the guys return from patrol, they haven’t showered in a month or two and they open up a box of snacks or food, there are no words, it’s something from home and it lets us know that everybody back home is still supporting us, and there is a great sense of appreciation.”
Burbank Mayor Emily Gabel-Luddy thanked the families for participating in the Ceremony of the Rose.
“I want to especially acknowledge all the families here — moms, dads, grandma, grandpa, kids, the brothers and the sisters — for all who came to honor their family members who died in battle,” she said.
A moving story was told by Rep. Adam Schiff, who recalled a young Burbank man, William McIlvaine, who he had nominated for the Naval Academy In 2006. Four years later he graduated with honors and his lifetime dream to become a military pilot came true. Three months ago he was killed when his plane crashed.
After attending his memorial, Schiff, fighting back tears, told how he was telling his 10-year-old son about the young man. And his son asked Schiff why would someone join the military if there was a chance of being killed.
“It’s a beautiful thing to have people who are not afraid to risk it all, but when it is redeemed so young, it’s a terrible thing,” he said. “So we gather on a day like today to remember Will and thousands of others who have given their lives for our country over the years and we thank them for giving all that they had to give.”
Schiff presented an American flag that had flown over the Capitol in honor of Will and the others this country has lost defending our freedom.
DePalo gave special recognition to the late Frank and Roberta Bullock for leading the campaign to add the Korean and Vietnam memorials to the site. Frank was a World War II veteran and when he came home, he and wife Roberta raised two children, Brian and Beverly. They are what the Greatest Generation is all about.
DePalo was friends with their son Brian all through Burbank High School. Brian served as a pilot during the Vietnam War. But his plane was lost off the Florida Coast and his body was never recovered. His parents had no place to pay their respects to their son. So, the couple approached the city hoping to inspire officials to create a memorial representing the Korean and Vietnam wars.
In May 1988, then Parks Director Rich Inga came together with Bob Lundigan, also a World War II veteran, the Bullocks and Council member Gary Bric to obtain the names of local service members from the two wars, DePalo said. The memorials were dedicated on Nov. 11, 1988.
“These memorials are here because of them.”