Honoring Veterans on Memorial Day: Community Event Planned

Memorial Day, which is observed the last Monday of May, commemorates the men and women who died while in the military service. The day is to memorialize those who made the ultimate sacrifice for their country.

Pacific Palisades Scouts, generally join other Scouts from around Los Angeles to place an American flag at more than 88,000 graves in the West Los Angeles Veteran’s National Cemetery on Saturday, May 25.

The Los Angeles National Flag placement, which began more than 40 years ago for Memorial Day, is marked by each Scout, saying the name of the veteran and placing a flag by each grave.

Locally, the Post 283 American Legion Auxiliary placed flags on the Village Green. A Palisades Citizen of the Year, Bruce Schwartz placed flags in the median by Sunset Boulevard and Chautauqua and at Temescal and Sunset Boulevard.

Memorial Day, a federal holiday, was first enacted after the American Civil War, which had claimed more lives than any other conflict in the U.S. History and spurred the creation of the country’s first national cemeteries.

In 1868, General John Logan called for a nationwide day of remembrance and called the day “Decoration Day.”

That year, 5,000 participants went to Arlington National Cemetery and decorated 20,000 Union and Confederate graves.

After World War I, the observance also included all fallen U.S. Service Members.

In 1971, Memorial Day became a national holiday by act of Congress.

This editor’s grandfather Thomas Sazama served in World War 1. He and wife Agnes had four sons, three of which, George, Ed and Tom would serve in World War II. The fourth, John, stayed at home on the farm.

Ed was a medic on the European battlefields and Tom was in the Navy in the U.S. Pacific.


George Sazama served during World War II in the Army Signal Corps.

This editor’s father George was born in 1920 in Nebraska and in 1929 moved to South Dakota. At the age of 9, he started school. When he retired from teaching after 39 years, he wrote down some of his Army Stories.

George writes: Hitler started to conquer Europe in 1940 and the U.S. started calling up men ages 17 to 45 years old to fight. December 7, 1941, we are at war.

He was momentarily deferred because he lived on a farm, but he enlisted July 27, 1942 and was put in the signals corps, 827 Division. He was sent to Minneapolis to learn to repair radios and to start to learn Morse Code. He was then sent to Camp Davis California in March 1942.

“We learned Code, and then I’m called into the office and told “You guys have a furlow to visit your folks and then you get a nice long journey overseas.”

My dad did not have money to go home, but he said, “a nice couple in Sacramento loaned me some.” That allowed him to take the train back to South Dakota.

He returned to Camp Koler in California and then his group of 30 were shipped to Camp Shamgo in Pennsylvania, where they spent six weeks.

Then, “They loaded us in trucks and took us to the New York City by the Statue of Liberty. I heard noise behind me.

“Some of our soldiers are trying to go AWOL, they don’t want to go overseas. There were soldiers behind them so they would get on the boat,” dad wrote. “I looked forward to it.”

The boat was an English ship, Cynthia, that had room for 5,000, but, “they crammed 8,000 of us into the boat.”

Cynthia was part of a ship convoy, with seven troop ships, four destroyers, four aircraft and three submarines.

Dad said the Atlantic ocean was mined, and the ships had to navigate the explosives. “One came loose, and the destroyer sailors were not too good of shots,” he said. “After five tries, they finally exploded it – and does it splash water.”

He said the ocean was rough and many were throwing up everywhere. “What a mess.” While on board, they were fed at 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. “Twice one morning, I failed to eat. We had boiled liver. It looked wicked – thin gravy covering it.”

My dad went to the English PX on board and bought 24 Hershey candy bars with almonds “I had buddies up to the ears,” he said and added “Our pay was $50 a month, plus $20 more if you were overseas.”

On Veteran’s Day this editor will continue the story of her father, who was a radio operator. First he was based in Stratford on Avon, then Crockham Hill, England and then Swanley.



The community is invited to join Ronald Reagan American Legion Post 283 for a commemorative walk, a VIP ceremony, followed by a BBQ at Veterans’ Gardens at the Palisades Recreation Center. The event includes a bag piper-led walk to Veterans Gardens at Rec Park, which starts at 11 a.m. at the Legion Post, 15247 La Cruz Drive. The event will commemorate the end of the 20-Year War on Terror and to properly honor the 7,000 who gave the ultimate sacrifice. Please RSVP to ensure enough food is available for the BBQ that will follow.  click here.


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4 Responses to Honoring Veterans on Memorial Day: Community Event Planned

  1. howard Yonet says:

    great story . Cant wait for finish

  2. M says:

    Loved your story. I fly my USA flag EVERY day. Several of my neighbors around the blocks do also. The flag is displayed (and what a beautiful flag it is) in honor of our country, past and present military men and women, and the sacrifices they have made. God Bless them all.


  3. Dave Borgeson says:

    Your father is very handsome. My dad was also in the signal corps. He was in the reserve and was activated in 1941. At first, he was assigned to Fort Monmouth in NJ. I grew up in Little Silver. My dad was sent to the China, Burma, India Theatre. His mission was to build a telephone line along the Burma road. He eventually contracted malaria and was sent home.


  4. Kathleen Jensen says:

    Like Dave Borgeson’s father, my father contracted malaria, except after being shot. He was in Army 808th Aviation Engineering Battalion, honorably discharged for medical reasons. Some wounded vets carry injuries with them for the rest of their lives.

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