Memorial Day Celebration in Seal Beach

The Seal Beach Lions Club and Grace Community Church sponsored a Memorial Day tribute at Eisenhower Park. Around 150 gathered to hear tributes to those who served our country and paid the ultimate price in defending our liberty. Southeast County Young Marines stand at ease in the foreground. Photo by John Schroeder

Memorial Day ceremonies were held at the World War II National Submarine Memorial-West at Eisenhower Park on Monday, May 30.

According to John Schroeder, who emailed photos of both events to the Sun, about 250 individuals attended the 11 a.m. service at the Submarine Memorial.

At the noon service at Eisenhower Park, “around 150 gathered to hear tributes to those who served our country and paid the ultimate price in defending our liberty. They are gone but not forgotten,” Schroeder wrote.

(For more photos of Monday’s Memorial Day events, see pages 14, 15 and 19.)

The Eisenhower Park service was a joint presentation of the Seal Beach Lions and Grace Community Church.

Among those attending the Eisenhower Park ceremony was Joseph Onipogui, whose son is in the Army and currently stationed in West Africa.

Prior to the Eisenhower Park event, members of the Young Marines rehearsed presenting the colors as nearby other Young Marines practice drills with mock rifles.

The Grace Choir performed the National Anthem.

After the colors were posted,  SBPD Chaplain Donald Shoemaker delivered the opening prayer.

Thomas Bell of the Lions spoke of the horror of the last 20 years. “Hopefully, it will be put to an end very soon,” he said.

District One Councilman/Mayor Joe Kalmick said he was proud of the community for coming out to support the event.

He also said he was proud of those who gave their lives in service to their country.

In closing, he said he hoped the community would continue to gather like this.

Chief Gregory Quinn, US Navy, read from the Charles M. Province poem “It is the Soldier.” Chief Quinn read, in part:

“It is the Soldier, not the minister

“Who has given us freedom of religion.

“It is the Soldier, not the reporter

“Who has given us freedom of the press.

“It is the Soldier, not the poet

“Who has given us freedom of speech. … ” (Author Province copyrighted the poem in 1970.)

Chief Quinn went on to ask the audience to comfort the families of those who died.

“Please enjoy Memorial Day, but don’t forget what it really means,” Quinn said.

Following renditions of “America the Beautiful” and “My Country Tis of Thee,” Commander Lisa Sharkey, commander officer of the Coast Gard Base Los Angeles/Long Beach, was the next speaker. She had spent 35 years in the military and only now did she get a West Coast posting.

Commander Sharkey spoke about Chief Petty Officer Terrell Horne, who died during an anti-drug operation while protecting the life of a member of his crew.

(Readers may find details of his heroic act at

Commander Sharkey said that to this day, his wife and children visit the cutter named after in Horne’s honor.

“You can really feel Horne’s presence on that cutter,” Sharkey said.

She called on the audience to recall all of members of the military who gave the ultimate sacrifice.

She also asked the audience to remember our nation’s Gold Star families. Rep. Michelle Steel thanked the Lions for putting the event together.

“We are reminded today of a simple but profound truth: freedom isn’t free,” she said.

“There is not much we can say to honor these brave heroes that has not been said before,” she said.

She concluded with: “God bless our troops.”

Steel gave a flag that flew over the nation’s capital to Lion Thomas Bell.

Chad Berlinghieri performed “God Bless America.”

Assemblywoman Janet Nguyen said we must not forget the families of the fallen. “Please know that we are indebted to you for your sacrifice” she said.

Bell laid a wreath in honor of the fallen.

He encouraged the audience to vote.