Contact: Joe Vargo, Perris Public Information Officer
Phone: 951-956-2120
jvargo@cityofperris.org

Memorial Day Remembrance Honors Area Veterans

Air Force Master Sgt. William Griffey delivers the keynote address at Monday’s Memorial Day Ceremony at Perris Valley Cemetery
Air Force Master Sgt. William Griffey delivers the keynote address at Monday’s Memorial Day Ceremony at Perris Valley Cemetery.

More than 200 residents, veterans, Boy Scouts and visitors attended the annual Memorial Day remembrance in Perris, taking time to thank those whose sacrifice have preserved the freedoms Americans enjoy today.

The serene Perris Valley Cemetery is the perfect location to reflect upon the service of the nation’s soldiers, sailors, Air Force personnel and Marines, both living and dead. The cemetery marks the final resting place for hundreds of American veterans, including more than a dozen from the Civil War.

Mayor Pro-Tem Joanne Evans, who served in the Marine Corps, served as the emcee of the ceremony. Also attending were Perris Mayor Daryl Busch, former Mayor Jesse Washington and City Council member Mark Yarbrough, who came with his twins, Schuyler and Andrea. Schuyler joined the Marines and Andrea is serving in the Army and will be deployed to Korea in June.

A member of an Honor Detail plays Taps
A member of an Honor Detail plays Taps.

Evans praised veterans, living and deceased, for putting their country above personal goals and desires.

“We owe them a debt of gratitude, especially those who died in service to our country and to those who are serving in harm’s way today,” Evans said.

Air Force Master Sgt. William Griffey, the keynote speaker, pointed out that it is not the journalist who ensures freedom of speech, nor the minister who ensure freedom of religion, nor the politician who ensures freedom of assembly. It is the veteran.

Griffey has served 23 years in the military, the last 12 at March Air Reserve Base, where he supervises the training of maintenance crews.

Marine Corps Private Schuyler Yarbrough with his twin sister, Army enlistee Andrea, and Perris Mayor Pro-Tem Joanne Evans
Marine Corps Private Schuyler Yarbrough with his twin sister, Army enlistee Andrea, and Perris Mayor Pro-Tem Joanne Evans.

“Today is a time to mourn but also to celebrate those who have given all for this country to have what we have today,” Griffey said. “At any moment, there are people in uniform who are willing to go anyplace on Earth to keep you safe. We do this because we have a belief that no matter where we are in the world, we are there to represent the U.S. Be happy we live in this great country. The U.S. military has your back. We always will.”

Evans and American Legion Post 595 Commander Bernie Foley paid special recognition to veterans who died in the last year and are now serving in “Post Everlasting.”

Evans recited the names, while Foley rang a bell to commemorate each individual. Members of the American Legion Post and Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 888 placed wreaths on the veterans’ memorials at the Perris Cemetery. A rifle team fired a three-shot volley. Taps was played.

The Yarbrough twins spoke briefly about enlisting in the military.

Perris Mayor Daryl Busch chats with a visitor after the ceremony
Perris Mayor Daryl Busch chats with a visitor after the ceremony.

“We are honored to come here and represent the branches of the military,” Andrea Yarbrough said. “Thank you for supporting the military.”

Mark Yarbrough said he attends Memorial Day services every year because Americans have a duty to pay respect to the military.

“No one of us as Americans can ever do enough to honor those who have served and are serving,” Yarbrough said.

Those sentiments were echoed by Mayor Busch.

“Honoring our veterans is the least we can do for those who protect our freedoms and liberty,” said Busch, a Navy veteran.

“We can’t say thank you enough.”

Members of Perris Boy Scout troops decorated the cemetery with flag. Pastor Ted Norton, of New Life Fellowship Church, led the invocation and benediction during the ceremony.