Department of
Health & Human Services

Main Health Facilities Center
2525 Grand Avenue
Long Beach, CA 90815
Phone: (562) 570-4000
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASEPress Release # 051123-4
Long Beach to Host Sunset Ceremony Commemorating Memorial Day
Jennifer Rice Epstein
Public Affairs Officer
Department of Health and Human Services

Long Beach, CA – The Office of Veterans Support, which is part of the Long Beach Health and Human Services Department (Health Department), will host a free, family-friendly community event on Sunday, May 28 to commemorate Memorial Day. The inaugural event will honor military service members who have died, with several local historical, veteran-led and veteran-supporting organizations represented.

“Through this ceremony, we are honoring the members of our military for their bravery, sacrifice and embracing the rich history of our community as a Naval city,” said Long Beach Mayor Rex Richardson. “My heart goes out to everyone affected by a military loss, past and present.”

Honoring Our Heroes – A Sunset Ceremony will take place from 5:30 to 8 p.m. on Sunday, May 28, at the Long Beach Navy Memorial in Shoreline Aquatic Park (200 Aquarium Way). Free parking is available in the lot adjacent to the Navy Memorial site.

The program will include:

  • Patriotic music provided by the Navy Band Southwest Harborside Brass Quintet;
  • Flyovers with historic aircraft;
  • Drills by Lakewood High School’s Navy Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps;
  • An information fair and activities featuring the Historical Society of Long Beach, People of the Earth Krew and other local community-based organizations;
  • A brief program, starting at 6:45 p.m., with guest speakers, including acclaimed artist Terry Braunstein, who created Navysphere, the large public artwork that is the centerpiece of the Navy Memorial, and keynote speaker Sergeant Major Charles Cook Jr. (US Marine Corps, retired), President of the Los Angeles Chapter of the Montford Point Marines; and 
  • At sunset, a flag ceremony and the playing of Taps to honor our fallen service members.

“This event brings the community together to remember our fallen and learn more about the rich history of the Navy in Long Beach. We hope it becomes a new tradition in our city," said Health Department Director Kelly Colopy.   

“Memorial Day is a special day to remember and honor the brave men and women who lost their lives in service to our country for our independence and freedom. Let’s continue honoring their courage and dedication to the United States of America,” said First District Councilwoman Mary Zendejas. “It is an absolute pleasure to host this memorial ceremony in our Downtown shoreline.”

The event will also offer opportunities to learn more about the Navy Memorial site, designed to provide a reflective space for visitors who are often surprised to discover it and its magnificent ocean view. It commemorates the 90-year history of the Navy in Long Beach and includes installations such as “Navysphere,” a 15-foot sculpture of an armillary sphere by local artist Terry Braunstein, and large-scale artifacts from the former Long Beach Naval Complex. The striking sculpture, installed in 2004, was commissioned by the Long Beach Navy Memorial Heritage Association (the Navy Trust).

Honoring Our Heroes – A Sunset Ceremony, complements Los Angeles Fleet Week, which takes place from May 26 through May 29 at the L.A. Waterfront at the Port of Los Angeles. As Sunday’s Fleet Week activities conclude for the day, Long Beach’s Memorial Day celebration begins. It is the first major event to be presented by the Office of Veterans Support, which was established on October 1, 2022. The Long Beach Veterans Day Committee is the lead sponsor for the event. Honoring Our Heroes aligns with Goal 1 of the Veterans Strategic Plan which focuses on recognizing veterans for their strengths, as valued members of our community, and regularly celebrating and honoring them. This event honors our fallen service members while also uplifting the local Long Beach veteran community, which comprises more than 16,000 veterans and their families.