Santa Monica celebrates and remembers its heroes

Residents of Santa Monica gathered in Woodlawn Cemetery for the 74th time on Memorial Day, to remember and salute the soldiers who lost their lives protecting our freedom. Families and visitors gathered in the heart of the cemetery, where a dais was erected. The Santa Monica Police Department stood to the left of the dais, the Fire Department to the right, and uniformed veterans sat behind, with their families.

There was a celebratory atmosphere in the air as families lounged on picnic blankets and children played in the grass.

The ceremony began with a speech from Santa Monica Mayor Richard Bloom, followed by The National Anthem, sung by a Santa Monica Police officer, who served in the U.S. Marines. The Oceanaires, a Santa Monica acapella group, decked out in festive red vests, preformed patriotic music for the crowd.

The Shaun Dove, an officer in the Santa Monica Police Department, stood to speak about the history of the Douglass DC-3, an airliner that was used during the invasion of Normandy in World War II, and manufactured in Santa Monica.  Just as he finished speaking, a DC-3 aircraft flew overhead at just 700 feet, going at 120 miles per hour. The crowd looked up to watch as it looped back for a second time.

After the ceremony, families dispersed to visit the gravestones of their loves ones, leaving flowers or mementos.

A young girl pays tribute.

A family honors their lost loved ones.