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Hundreds honor service members on Memorial Day at Mt. Soledad

Posted at 7:08 PM, May 30, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-30 22:08:23-04

LA JOLLA, Calif. (KGTV) - On Monday, hundreds of people gathered at the top of Mt. Soledad for a Memorial Day ceremony.

Organizers said that the service included veterans from across the county who were looking to pause and recognize the freedom enjoyed and preserved for generations by young soldiers who answered the call to serve.

Maj. Megan McClung was paid a special tribute. The 34 year-old Camp Pendleton Marine was killed in Iraq in 2006.

Sgt. Maj. Neil O'Connell is the Executive Director of the Mt. Soledad National Veterans Memorial. "Among [us], we have veterans who served in Iraq in the same battle spaces as Megan, through the tenuous times of very dangerous locations and personal sacrifices," he told the crowd.

Maj. McClung worked with journalists in Iraq, where she served as a media relations officer. As she was escorting reporters, an IED hidden off the road struck her convoy, taking her life and the lives of others.

Retired Army Lt. Gen. Sean MacFarland saw her that same morning and described how her efforts helped change the narrative about the war. "It was her words that helped change minds and although a single IED ended three incredible lives far too soon, it was not too soon to defeat them," he added.

Her mother stood proudly in front of the crowd, as her plaque was unveiled.

"I'm here to express the gratitude for the 1.4 million people who call this city home, knowing that our military identity is wrapped up in who we are as a community and that we live out these values all year long but today is particularly important," added City of San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria.