An estimated 1,000 men, women and children will gather at Rockefeller Gardens on Monday, May 29th, in loving memory of those whose supreme sacrifice protected privileges we still enjoy as a nation. We owe our fallen.
The debt can never be paid, but it is one that growing numbers of faithful citizens and visitors acknowledge each year through their presence at the Memorial Remembrance Services.
Whether a guest feels the awesome pride that is common at this gathering or feels a tear course down their cheek as some do each year, the most meaningful tribute that can be paid on all we owe our fallen heroes is found in being among other caring citizens during the 90 minute remembrance to honor those who years ago, or as recently as this very day, have made the supreme sacrifice.
Weeks of preparation by the volunteer Remembrance Committee each year has made this an increasingly popular and widely respected event.
World War II Admiral Chester Nimitz defined the reason for remembering in a manner that has not waned:
“They fought together as brothers-in-arms…
They died together and now they sleep side-by-side,
To them, we have a solemn obligation.”
Dignity, respect and love describe the humility with which this annual program is presented. There are no bikini contests, athletic competitions or other causes. Focus remains solemn and dignified.
The uncompromised purpose is to honor the selflessness and bravery with which over a million men and women throughout our history have laid down their lives for our freedom.
Symbols of liberty will overflow into every corner of the plaza as numerous military color guards and color corps enter and assume their positions at the center of activities. Additional groups, including Boy and Girl Scouts will join them.
Guest speaker for the 2017 event is Captain Randall J. Lynch, U.S. Navy (Retired). Captain Lynch is a native of Huntington Beach, California, and attended the University of California in San Diego under the Naval Reserve Officer Training Program, graduating in 1988 with a BA in U.S. History. After flight training in Pensacola, he was designated a Naval Flight Officer in 1990 and completed three tours in the S-3A and S-3B, one as a junior officer, one as a Fleet Replacement Squadron (FRS) flight instructor, and one as a department head.
Following his transition training in the EA-6B aircraft, Captain Lynch joined the Garudas of VAQ-134 as the Executive Officer where he completed a combat deployment in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. As the commanding officer, he led the “Garudas,” through the transition to the ICAP II Block III Prowler aircraft and a subsequent deployment once again in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. While attached to the Garudas, the squadron received the Admiral Arthur B. Radford Award for Tactical Electronic Warfare Excellence.
Captain Lynch’s shore and non-flight related assignments included Flag Lieutenant/Aide to the USS Abraham Lincoln Battle Group Commander, and assignment to the Naval War College in Newport, Rhode Island, where he graduated with academic distinction and was selected as the President’s Honor Graduate. He also served as an Individual Augmentee (IA) as the Naval and Amphibious Liaison Officer (NALE) at the Combined Air Operations Center (CAOC) in Qatar; as a Joint Staff Officer at U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM) in Stuttgart, Germany; and, as a Federal Executive Fellow at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory in Laurel, Maryland.
Captain Lynch then completed a successful tour as the Commanding Officer of Naval Station Great Lakes. Under his leadership, Great Lakes received the Secretary of the Navy (SECNAV), Chief of Naval Operations (CNO), and Governor of Illinois Energy and Sustainability awards; was voted as having the best Morale Welfare and Recreation (MWR) program in the Department of Defense (DoD) for 2012; and, was chosen as the 2013 Agency of the Year by the Chicago Federal Executive Board, encompassing 43 federal agencies and over 58,000 federal employees.
Captain Lynch’s final command was the NROTC unit at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University which he assumed in July 2013. He retired in July 2016 after 28 years of dedicated service and is married to the former Terri E. Worley of El Centro, California. Captain Lynch and his wife Terri live in Daytona Beach with their two sons Joshua and Luke.
Captain Lynch’s personal decorations include the Legion of Merit (2), Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Meritorious Service Medal (3), Air Medal (12 S/F), Joint Service Commendation Medal, Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal (3), Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal (3), as well as various campaign medals and unit citations. During his career, he has accumulated over 3,200 flight hours in various Naval aircraft, including over 700 hours in combat and over 400 carrier arrested landings.
Upon arrival to Rockefeller Gardens, guests will have been given a carnation. Final tribute is rendered as they move forward in procession, to place their flower beside the memorial flame as a personal “thank you” to those who gave their all.
As the last flower is placed, we the free will have honored the fallen with love, humility and gratitude.
This annual Memorial Remembrance Service takes place at 9 a.m. on Monday, May 29, in Rockefeller Gardens, 26 Riverside Drive in Ormond Beach. Rockefeller Gardens is located adjacent to The Casements at the southeast corner of the Granada Bridge (SR40).
For additional info, you may call Leisure Services at 386-676-3241.