A bell tolled once for each of the nine Perris military veterans who left Earth and reported for duty in “Post Everlasting” within the last year.
Remembering deceased men and women of the armed forces once again took center stage at the annual Memorial Day ceremonies at the Perris Valley Cemetery, which drew about 100 participants and visitors.
As Joanne Evans, a member of American Legion Post 595 and the master of ceremonies, read off the names of Raul Garcia, Art Terhurst, Bill Farrow, John Salgado, Kenneth Schools, Gee Gee Stainbrook, Neil Hoch and Bob Warren, her husband and fellow Legionnaire Iral Evans gently struck a hammer to a memorial bell, which solemnly tolled. The last name on the list, Bob Warren, was a former Perris Mayor and this year’s commemoration was dedicated to his memory.
The names of six members of the post Auxiliary who died since last Memorial Day also were read.
Perris Mayor Daryl Busch, City Councilman Mark Yarbrough and his wife, Shelly, along with former Mayor Jesse Washington, were among the current and former elected officials on hand.
“We gather here to honor our veterans who have served our country and who have sacrificed so much so we can have the freedoms we have and the lives we have,” said Busch, a Navy veteran. “Not everyone enjoys the life and freedom we have in the United States.”
Yarbrough’s son, Marine Lance Cpl. Schuyler Yarbrough, attended the service in his dress uniform. Yarbrough’s daughter, Andrea, who is serving with the Army in Germany, put in an appearance via Skype.
“Our City has been around for more than 100 years and we have residents who have fought in every war since the Civil War buried here,” Yarbrough said. “We must never forget the sacrifice they made so we can stand here in freedom. They not only ensure our freedom and our lives but freedom and life around the world.”
Keynote speaker Lynn Durbin, who spent 33 years in the military, called upon Americans to “walk the hallowed ground amongst the final resting places of our nation’s best and brightest.”
“You will come to understand that every grave, every marker bears a name. Every name represents a person who was loved by someone…and who loved someone in return… a person with hopes and dreams.”
Durbin, who retired as a master sergeant from the California Air National Guard at March Air Reserve Base, said Memorial Day is the time “to cherish their memories and to celebrate the courage and the deeds of all veterans who have served the nation.”
“We are connected by spirit and treasured memories of our departed friends,” she said. “They have rightfully earned our gratitude, our respect and a place of honor among us. And we will work to instill and keep their honor, for that is how honor is kept.”
Retired Navy Capt. Quinn Hawley, a chaplain with 36 years in the service, said that in his long career in uniform, he visited U.S. military cemeteries all over the world. Studying the headstones, Hawley said he learned that America is a “land of multi-cultures and multi-faiths.”
“The flag of our country was brought with the blood and sacrifice of many,” he said. “Be forever grateful for all those who served, who today we remember with grateful hearts.”
Cadets from the California Military Institute provided the Color Guard, motorcyclists from the American Legion Riders provided a rolling Honor Guard and members of Memorial Honor Detail 47 performed the Rifle Salute and playing of Taps.