INGLEWOOD — The city of Inglewood paid tribute to the men and women of the armed forces that have given their lives in the line of duty during the city’s 69th annual Memorial Day observance on the lawn of City Hall May 29.
While peaceful, but at times noisy, demonstrators held signs in memory of Kisha Michael and Marquintan Sandlin — two people who were killed by Inglewood police in February 2016 — a few feet away, Mayor James Butts, members of the City Council and U.S. Rep. Maxine Waters spoke during the ceremony.
Waters paid tribute to the veterans in attendance.
“Their patriotism is the embodiment of all that this country was founded upon and every citizen has a moral obligation to care for the honorable men and women who put on their uniforms and volunteer their lives and service to this country every day,” Waters said. “The sad reality is that instead of the honor they deserve for their service, our veterans are facing daunting challenges that threaten their lives and liberty when they return home from duty.”
“Many have insufficient health care and disability benefits, struggle to find good-paying jobs and lack access to quality education, all of which limits their transition back into respectable and fulfilling lives,” Waters added. “In my view, this is a shameful affront to all that this country stands for and we must do all that we can to break this vicious cycle and give our veterans and their families the support they deserve.”
“We gather here every year to pay our respect, not only to those that have served, those who have committed the ultimate sacrifice and those that were wounded in preservation of our liberty. Those people set the foundation,” Butts said.
The hour-long event got a jolt when a member of the audience got a bit riled up. Waters intervened and calmed the young man.
Waters would later meet privately with the man and members of the Black Lives Matter movement after the ceremony was over.
Also in attendance were state Sen. Steve Bradford and West Basin Municipal Water District Director Gloria Gray.
One of the more touching moments during the event came when a member of American Legion Post 252 recited the Gettysburg Address, delivered by President Abraham Lincoln months after the famous Battle of Gettysburg during the Civil War.
The ceremony concluded with members of the City Council delivering proclamations to veterans in attendance.