Murrieta Pays Tribute to Fallen Heroes With Ceremony

Hundreds came to take part in the Memorial Day ceremony in Murrieta's Town Square Park on Monday. Murrieta 24/7 photos: Doug Spoon ...

Hundreds came to take part in the Memorial Day ceremony in Murrieta's Town Square Park on Monday.
Murrieta 24/7 photos: Doug Spoon

Residents, military personnel, veterans and city officials gathered in Town Square Park this morning for the city's annual Memorial Day ceremony.

Mayor Randon Lane welcomed guests and joined other City Council members in the gathering, which was held in front of the city's Local Heroes Field of Honor flag display and memorial to the four Murrieta residents who died in the service of their country.

VFW Chaplain Captain Scott Burris offered the invocation and Vista Murrieta High School student Kelsey Bridges sang the National Anthem. Presentation of colors was made by Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 268 of Miramar.

Speakers included Assemblywoman Melissa Melendez (right) of the 67th Assembly District. She and her husband Nico are both Navy veterans.

"Six years ago, my husband was recalled to active duty and deployed to Afghanistan for a year," Melendez told the crowd. "I was asked to speak at a Memorial Day ceremony in Lake Elsinore during that time. I will tell you ... all I could think the whole time was, 'I hope the next Memorial Day speech that I give isn't paying tribute to my husband in the event he didn't come home.' Thank God he did.

"I know a lot of you here aren't as lucky. Today is the day you remember the person who didn't come home. We do owe a debt of gratitude to those who were brave enough to serve. All of us know a story of hallowed heroism of a loved one who made the ultimate sacrifice. These are the stories we should never forget.

"The lives that were cut short to this great nation, we remember today. We honor them today. We celebrate their lives today."

The keynote address was delivered by Sergeant Major (Ret.) Larock W. Benford, USMC (left). He used the word "remember" often in telling the stories of men and women he had served with who didn't come home.

Following the playing of Taps by Keith Larson, Lane joined council member Jonathan Ingram in laying a wreath at the foot of the Veterans memorial.

"Today we honor those who have served, including the four sons of Murrieta who died in service to their country," said Lane, who then named the four: Army PFC Nicolas Gideon (July 6, 2009); Army Airborne Sgt. Eric Williams (July 23, 2012); Army Airborne Sgt. Clinton Ruiz (Oct. 25, 2012); Marine Sgt. Eric Seaman (May 12, 2015).

Guests at the ceremony included Vanessa Brown, who grew up attending middle school and high school with Seaman. She and her husband wore "Seaman" shirts as they sat in the crowd with their young children.

"We came to pay respect to everybody," Brown said. "Eric was a great guy. Our group of friends have all been really affected by him.

"Our kids, they know why they're here. I'm not sure they understand too much. But they know the guy on our shirt is Eric and he's our hero."

Members of the Brown family of Murrieta wear T-shirts honoring Marine Sgt. Eric Seaman, who died in action in 2015.

A memorial in Town Square Park pays tribute to the four fallen heroes from Murrieta.

Murrieta Mayor Randon Lane addresses the crowd during Monday's ceremony in Town Square Park.


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