Local residents who served in World War II, Korea, Vietnam and other military duty were asked to stand and be recognized. Craig Walker played TAPS on a trumpet in front of the monument, dedicated in 2010 in Wheatfield Park. As a fitting end to the emotional ceremony, two "warbird" fighter planes from March Air Reserve Base conducted a flyover, and military equipment was on display.
"Nothing can ever replace the hole left in our hearts by a fallen soldier," Menifee mayor John Denver said in addressing the crowd. "Our gathering is just one small spark in the flame of pride that runs across this country today."
The keynote address was given by local resident Ed Yarbrough, a U.S. Navy veteran and president of the Oasis Veterans Club in Menifee.
"We cannot rightfully enjoy our freedom without remembering those who paid the price to ensure that freedom," said Yarbrough, who served on U.S. Navy submarines during the Vietnam war. "It could've been my turn at any time. To all our veterans, we say thank you for your service."
Lesa Sobek, representing the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, announced details of a plan to display banners on the city's main streets honoring current military personnel as well as veterans. She accepted donations from community groups to contribute to the cost of the banners.
"We are here to remember the sacrifice they made and the courage it takes to fight for our country," Denver said. "We're here today to honor those heroes and remember their dedication."