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Lieutenant Col. Edward W. Powers, commanding officer of Marine Light Attack Helicopter Squadron 469, 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing, stands in front of the memorial during Park Semper Fi’s 10th anniversary ceremony at San Clemente, Calif., Oct. 11, 2015. The ceremony paid tribute to Marines with HMLA 469 who gave their lives during a humanitarian mission in Nepal, May 12, 2015.

Photo by Cpl. Demetrius Morgan

Immortalizing the fallen: San Clemente hosts 10th Anniversary of Park Semper Fi

15 Oct 2015 | Cpl. Demetrius Morgan 1st Marine Division

Often times citizens create memorials to honor Marines and Sailors of past and present, commemorating individual and unit achievements and immortalizing those who gave the ultimate sacrifice in service to their country.

One such memorial is Park Semper Fi which was built by the city of San Clemente, California, to pay tribute the Corps' honor, courage and commitment in service to the United States.

On Oct. 11, 2015, Marines, Sailors, veterans and citizens of the city gathered at the Marine Monument in Park Semper Fi to celebrate the park’s 10th anniversary and add an additional memorial honoring some of the Corps' recently fallen Marines. 

During the ceremony, Marines of the past and present spoke fondly of the memorial and the Marines it tributes. Maj. Gen. Daniel J. O’Donohue, commanding general, 1st Marine Division, reflected on the great service of Marines in his charge.  

“It’s an honor to be here,” O’Donohue said. “I represent the Marines currently serving today with the 1st Marine Division and those who served with the division.” 

“Marines have forever been committed to be the most ready when the nation is least ready,” he continued. “We know you all are with us and it makes a difference; for everyone here, your generosity and kindred spirit touches us deeply.”  

The ceremony also paid tribute to the Marines of Marine Light Attack Helicopter Squadron 469, 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing who gave their lives during a humanitarian mission in Nepal, May 12, 2015. Lt. Col. Edward W. Powers, commanding officer, HMLA 469, spoke on behalf of the unit.

“You guys have been with us through the good times and the bad,” Powers said. “Every time there’s a tragedy you are with us to support during the challenging times.”

“This year during a time of adversity, I’ve seen San Clemente rise to every occasion,” he continued. “The fact the families of San Clemente set aside the time for us is not lost. Those Marines died for what they believed in and they died doing what they love to do.”  

After Powers finished speaking, he and other Marines with HMLA 469, unveiled a memorial within the park dedicated to the six Marines who lost their lives that day. After they revealed the memorial, all in attendance stood in silence as taps was played by members of the 1st Marine Division Band.

After the conclusion of the ceremony, individuals took time to personally pay respects at the memorial and to those Marines in attendance.

Citizens of San Clemente have made it a priority to remember those Marines who have served their country in the past and to honor those who serve today. Just as those who served are always faithful, their legacy will be faithfully carried on for as long as the Marine Corps exists.

1st Marine Division