Memorial Day is here! Mt. Soledad National Veterans Memorial is not holding back this year as we honor the veterans who have served this beautiful country. Memorial Day is about celebrating the fallen veterans of all American wars. Memorial Day was originally called Decoration Day where people would decorate the graves of American soldiers from both the Union and Confederate armies. In 1866, cities from the North and the South claimed to be the source of Memorial Day, but in 1966, Congress and President Lyndon Johnson declared Waterloo, New York the origin of Memorial Day. It wasn’t until after World War I that Americans honored the lives of all fallen veterans. In 1971, Memorial Day was declared a national holiday by Congress.
Mt. Soledad National Veterans Memorial will be hosting a very special Memorial Day event this year. We’re honoring a Medal of Honor veteran Airman First Class William H. “Pits” Pitsenbarger who was killed in action on April 11, 1966. Through his heroic and selfless acts, he earned the second highest honor, the Air Force Cross, but 35 years later, after a detailed review of his heroism, the award was upgraded to the Medal of Honor. He is the sixth Air Force enlisted recipient to receive the Medal of Honor. Before he was killed in action, as a pararescue crew member, he volunteered to help a group of Army soldiers near Cam My, Vietnam. There, he rescued and cared for over 80 soldiers. He also distributed ammo to those fighting back against the enemy. Once his rescue helicopter began taking enemy fire, he waved his pilot away and refused to evacuate with his own crew. His goal was to save as many people on the ground as possible before he was later killed by a sniper.
Our special event will be hosted online where we will have several keynote speakers including Todd Robinson, the director of The Last Full Measure, a movie featuring A1C Pitsenbarger’s courageous actions during the Vietnam War, David Milsten, an Airforce veteran and a member of the Pararescue Association, and Phil Hall, an Army Veteran and a member of the Mud Soldiers. We will also be commemorating the 30th anniversary of Operation Desert Storm and honoring America’s fallen heroes of our United States Armed Forces, past and present.
You can watch the event at www.memorialdaylive.com on Monday, May 31st, 2021 from 12 pm to 1 pm. Can’t make the live event? Be sure to support our efforts by becoming a member, donating to our cause, or following our Facebook page and subscribing to our YouTube channel to catch our future events.