Memorial Day services begin at 11 a.m. May 27 at Riverview Cemetery
NEEDLES — The community unites in appreciation for those who have served and are serving their country, and remembers those who have passed away in Memorial Day services beginning at 11 a.m. Monday, May 27, at Needles’ Riverview Cemetery.
Coordinated once again by Natalie Johnson of Fat Cat in the Hat DJ services, the ceremonies feature prayers, readings, recitations and music in honor of military, police and firefighters. Riverview Cemetery is along East Broadway, U.S. 95 South, just south of the Interstate 40 interchange.
Observances begin with preparation on Decoration Day Friday, May 24. Volunteers gather at the cemetery at 7 a.m. to spruce up the facility and place white crosses and American flags on the graves of veterans. Bring hand tools such as clippers, gas powered weed eaters, etc., garbage bags, and water to stay hydrated; call Cheryl Sallis at the city of Needles, 760-326-2113 ext 115, with any questions.
The program for Memorial Day, subject to any last-minute substitutions, begins with opening prayers by Rev. Janet Hurley of St. John Episcopal Church; presentation of colors by the Fort Mojave Tribal Veterans and Needles Scout Troops 58 and 490; the pledge of allegiance led by Lucas Johnson; and the Star Spangled Banner sung by McKenna Sauceda-Duarte.
Readings, including litanies of deceased military veterans and emergency responders, the Gettysburg Address and In Flanders Fields are to be conducted by Vice-mayor Ed Paget MD, Chair Timothy Williams and Vice-chair Shan Lewis of the Fort Mojave Indian Tribe, California Highway Patrol Officer Joseph Medina and San Bernardino County Sheriff Department Sgt. Nick Caronna, and U.S. Navy Petty Officer Jonathan Diddock. Presentations are to be made by Cap’t. Dan Nelson, Engineer Grant Kovacovich and Firefighter/Paramedic Justin Hashimoto of the San Bernardino County Fire Department; Norma Jean Williams of the Needles Cemetery Committee; Phil LeJeune, liaison to Dist. 1 County Supervisor Robert Lovingood; and Kerry Otterstrom of the American Legion and Disabled American Veterans.
Musical presentations include selections by the Fort Mojave Indian Tribal Band; the playing of Taps by David Courtwright; traditional dance by Fort Mojave Indian Tribal Royalty accompanied by the Rez Life Bird Singers; and a choral group from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The audience will join in singing God Bless the USA before Ken Mann of Set Free Ministries offers the benediction.
Volunteers are asked to return to the cemetery at 4 p.m. to help remove the flags and crosses from the graves and pack them away for next year’s observance.