Riverside National Cemetery holds week long memorial roll call

Memorial Day observances at Riverside National Cemetery included a week long recitation of all the service men and women buried there. The marathon, around-the-clock, roll call is the first of its kind at a national cemetery. KPCC's Steven Cuevas spoke to a few of the people who participated.

[Man and woman reading names]

Jim Reuster: What we're hearing are two volunteers who are here to read some of the names of the approximately 148,000 veterans buried here at Riverside National Cemetery.

Steven Cuevas: Riverside National Cemetery spokesman Jim Reuster says hundreds of volunteers signed on to recite names – in random order – all day and night.

Reuster: It's the least we can do for what the veterans did for us. What we're doing here is a piece of cake compared to what a lot of them went through.

Violet Barilla: My husband died three years ago – on Memorial Day.

Cuevas: Violet Barilla has already recited names more than half a dozen times over the last week. She visits the cemetery often to see her brothers buried here. Her late husband also fought in World War II. Violet can't bring herself to part with his ashes just yet.

Barilla: Back in 2000, my husband – who had been in the Navy – and I put up a 20-foot flag pole in our front yard. And so every year on Memorial Day weekend, we have the family over, as many as 80 people over there.

It means that much to me, our nation really does. Maybe this was instilled when I was a little girl and our dad was in the Navy. Its just something that always has been important.

[Barilla reading names]

Cuevas: The Riverside National Cemetery now plans to hold its memorial roll call every May.

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