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A Memorial Day unlike any other

Next Monday is Memorial Day, the day that is set aside to remember those military heroes and their families who died in defense of our nation, our way of life. We also remember our veterans.

This year will be very different as we normally come together as the people of America to remember but with the pandemic, there will be no physical commemoration together. Instead our remembrance will be on a virtual basis and I encourage you to watch the City of Whittier Memorial Day observance at 9 am on Monday (Channel 3 or City of Whittier website).

I also encourage you to observe the remembrance presented by Rose Hills on their Facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/RoseHillsMemorialPark.

I was asked to provide some thoughts for the Rose Hills Remembrance including my military hero…here are thoughts on my military hero, my dad:

I have been asked to share my military hero and it is my dad, Norbert Vinatieri. Dad was a faithful attender of the annual Rose Hills Memorial Day Observance from the late 1950’s through 2014 when he passed away.

A Lieutenant JG in the U.S. Navy during World War II, he commanded landing craft from the USS Granville landing Marines and Army troops on the various islands in the South Pacific on the relentless march toward Japan. Like so many other WWII vets, he never talked a lot about his service but to this day, I do remember how he described what it was like to be under air assault from the Japanese Kamikaze pilots while his ship was moored with other troop carriers in Lethe.

“Joe, planes would either come very low across the water and strike you without you even knowing they were coming or they would start up real high and dive bomb straight down to hit you. On one occasion, I was on deck and a Kamikaze started high and barreled straight down, targeted on our ship. Instead he hit the ship docked right next to ours blowing it sky-high. The water was covered with burning debris and burning sailors…”

Dad was emblematic of so many other men and women who grew up during the Depression only to be confronted with a War that could have easily meant the loss of our nation, of our freedom.

We are so blessed by the men and women who are no longer with us but who fully understood that freedom isn’t free.

Everyone, have a meaningful day of remembrance!

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