Venice beach honors fallen heroes, present military members
By Joe Davidson, SMC Public Affairs
/ Published May 31, 2007
LOS ANGELES AIR FORCE BASE -- Memorial Day is a time for remembrance, a time for honoring those fallen in battle, a time for giving thanks for what free Americans are able to do because of the ultimate sacrifice made by so many.
Venice Beach was one of many communities in the Los Angeles area that recognized the fallen heroes and present service members with a special tribute May 28.
The Muscle Beach International Classic bodybuilding and figure contest served as a backdrop for a demonstration of support for the military services.
Hundreds of people enduring the afternoon sun looked to the sky as a C-17 Globemaster III from the 729th Airlift Squadron, March Air Reserve Base, Riverside Country, Calif., flew majestically over the crowd of cheering, clapping spectators. The clapping continued even after the aircraft banked towards the North and headed back to home base.
"Memorial Day has become a celebration of our American way of life", said Brig. Gen. Ellen Pawlikowski, Military Satellite Communications Systems Wing. "What a better way to celebrate what those men and women died for to protect for us, than to be out here in beautiful Venice Beach with the sun and the ocean and the beach around us."
General Pawlikowski then administered the oath of enlistment to 15 inductees.
Macey Russell is one of those new inductees. A student from Cal State Dominguez Hills, she said she needed a change in life and looked to the Air Force to help bring on that change.
"I want to be able to travel and learn new things that I wouldn't be able to learn in the civilian world," said Ms. Russell. "I'm just really excited to be a member of the United States military and to support my country and do the best job that I can."
Nineteen year-old David Olvera joined the Air Force for almost the same reasons. He told recruiters from each of the services what type of job he was looking for.
"I was looking for a branch to give me a call, "said Mr. Olvera. "The Air Force was the first to give me a call so I decided to join them."
He signed up to be a cryptological linguist, a job that will require a Top Secret clearance. He plans to continue his education through the Air Force and hopes to be stationed in Turkey one day.
The Memorial Day celebration attracted approximately 3,000 people, according to event planners.