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Memorial Day 2011: 6,000 As A Visual Reminder


By jimstaro - Posted on 30 May 2011

6,000 tombstones serve as visual reminder

The annual display will remain on Eighth Ave. until dusk on Monday

Philip Morris, a veteran of the Army National Guard, looks at the tombstones of his friend, DeForest Talbert along the Memorial Mile along 8th Avenue on Saturday, May 28, 2011 in Gainesville, Fla. Matt Stamey/Staff photographer

May 28, 2011 - More than 6,000 tombstones with names of those who have died in the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq now line the sides of Northwest Eighth Avenue — and they'll remain in place until dusk on Monday.

Saturday morning, the tombstones were put in place by the local chapter of Veterans for Peace as part of its Memorial Day weekend tribute — the fifth year the veterans have erected what has come to be known as the Memorial Mile.

The display grows every year as the number of deaths grows. This year more than 600 tombstones were added, said Scott Camil, president of Veterans for Peace Chapter 14 and a Vietnam veteran.

It is the third time the tombstones have lined both the north and south sides of Eighth Avenue, Camil said.

Camil said that when he first started the display years ago, he never would have thought the war would still be going on in 2011. {continued}

Veterans honor their fallen comrades

30 May 2011 - For many veterans and their families, Memorial Day is about more than a day off for shopping and barbecues.

Lee Dorman is the chair of the Orange County Veterans Advisory Council.

"I am a veteran and I have always recognized Memorial Day, Veterans Day," Dornan said. "And I think it's wrong to call it a holiday because it isn’t really. It’s a day of remembrance."

Dorman served 10 years in the Navy during the Vietnam War era. He says he spent most of that time in the Mediterranean region.

Ken Armelin is the commander of Disabled American Veterans Chapter 23 in Santa Ana.

"Memorial Day means remembering my comrades that I served with in Vietnam and honoring them, and also attempting to try to help the newer vets as well as the older vets and directing them where they can acquire their benefits," he said at a recent veterans job fair in Costa Mesa.

In the middle of the conversation, a man approached Armelin to shake his hand.

"Can I just say, thank you for your service young man?" the man said.

"Thank you very much," Armelin replied.

The man thanked him a second time before walking away.

"Having veterans like this come up to you," Armelin said, "it means a lot to have them thank me for their benefits and vice versa."

Armelin says he’s spending his Memorial Day at a barbecue for hospitalized veterans. He said for him, the day is about giving back to his military comrades, especially those who are ill or can no longer take care of themselves. {continued}

Photos: A reminder of what Memorial Day is truly about

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