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San Diego Veterans Honor Southern California Service Members On Memorial Day

Mock headstones at a memorial by Veterans for Peace outside the USS Midway to...

Photo by Priya Sridhar

Above: Mock headstones at a memorial by Veterans for Peace outside the USS Midway to honor the lives of the 288 service men and women from San Diego, Imperial, Orange and Los Angeles counties who have died in the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts. San Diego, May 27, 2019.

Veterans for Peace, a non-profit dedicated to promoting peace, set up a memorial designed to look like Arlington National Cemetery in front of the USS Midway on Memorial Day.

The mock headstones displayed the names of the 288 U.S. servicemen and women from San Diego, Imperial, Orange and Los Angeles counties who have died in the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts. Black headstones in the memorial were displayed to represent service members who had taken their lives.

The organization has set up the memorial every year since 2003. Members from the group read the name, branch of service, rank and age at death of each fallen service member. After every name, a veteran rings a bell to honor their lives.

Video by Nicholas Mcvicker

"There are a couple things that trigger me a little bit ... just flashbacks of what happened, where I was, what I was doing," said 89-year-old Stan Levin, a Navy veteran of the Korean War, who rang the bell after the names were ready this year. "It's something you just never get over."

Organizers hope the memorial will give tourists coming to San Diego over the holiday weekend an opportunity to reflect on the sacrifice these veterans have made.

"I'll be doing this here the rest of my life, I just feel driven to do it, to honor these people is part of my penance for having gone to war and killed people and dealt with that stuff and it helps, it helps to read their names," said Jim Brown, a Marine Corps veteran of the Vietnam War.

Photo by Priya Sridhar

A member of Veterans for Peace gestures towards mock headstones at a memorial outside the USS Midway, San Diego, May 27, 2019.

Several residents from around San Diego and tourists from across the country and the world took a moment to listen as the names were being read.

"I wanted to take a moment on Memorial Day and not let it just be just another day off from work or just another day to run errands or do recreational stuff, I wanted to take a moment and remember the people who had sacrificed their lives for our country," said Angelina Carpenter, a San Diego resident.

By Reporter Priya Sridhar

Across the country, Americans marked Memorial Day Monday by recognizing and honoring the lives of the more than one million men and women who have died in military service since the Civil War.

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