Historic airplane flyovers, a flag ceremony and Navy drills demonstrations are just some of the programming to be featured at a new Memorial Day celebration in Downtown next Sunday, May 28.
Presented by the city’s new Office of Veterans Support, “Honoring Our Heroes – A Sunset Ceremony” will salute our country’s fallen military service members with a free, family-friendly celebration at Shoreline Aquatic Park from 5:30-8 p.m.
The new event is in tandem with Los Angeles Fleet Week, an annual multi-day celebration that honors U.S. armed forces at the Port of Los Angeles, so guests attending Fleet Week activities during the day on Sunday are encouraged to make the short drive Downtown for the evening celebration.
The festivities kick off at 5:45 p.m. with an airplane flyover featuring two early 1940s trainer aircraft. The first, a 1944 North American SNJ-5, was an advanced WWII trainer for the Marines and the U.S. Navy and modified to install a tailhook for carrier landings. After years of service in Japan, the plane was scrapped but later rescued by aviation historians. Airshow performer John Collver, who will be flying the aircraft on Sunday, bought the trainer after it was brought to Compton Airport and restored by Warbirds West in 1979.
The second plane, a North American AT-6G, which served as an advanced trainer for the Army Air Corps in the 1940s, will be piloted by Delta Air Lines pilot Brad Land, whose father was a Tuskegee airman.
During the celebration, guests will hear patriotic tunes by the Navy band Southwest Harborside Brass Quintet while Lakewood High School’s Navy Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps perform drills. There will also be an information fair, activities and historical displays presented by the Historical Society of Long Beach, People of the Earth Krew and other local community-based organizations.
Starting at 6:45 p.m., attendees will hear brief words from artist Terry Braunstein, who created Navysphere, the large public artwork that is the centerpiece of the Navy Memorial, and the keynote speaker, retired U.S. Marine Corps Sergeant Major Charles Cook Jr., who currently serves as president of the Los Angeles chapter of the Montford Point Marines.
The evening will conclude with a flag ceremony and the playing of “Taps” to honor our fallen service members at sunset.
“This event brings the community together to remember our fallen and learn more about the rich history of the Navy in Long Beach. We hope it becomes a new tradition in our city,” said Health Department Director Kelly Colopy in a statement.
The event is free to attend. Guests are encouraged to bring lawn chairs or blankets for seating. Click here for more information.
Shoreline Aquatic Park is at 200 Aquarium Way.