Greg and I grew up together in La Crescenta, California,
a small quiet valley in the San Gabriel Mountains behind Glendale, in wonderful Southern California.
In 1953, we were only 9 or 10 years old.. to a boy, the best years of our lives. Our lives
were full of innocence and careless play. Mischief, too, for we were real boys! So full also of hopes and dreams
for the future and full of the joy of living, that is so cherished with fondness by grown men... A time called
Greg and I would often race to school on our bikes.. This was back in the days when you thought
you'd live forever.
They were gentle times; times when the only care was if you were
having fun or not. We had lots of fun. That was in the post war years of the early 50's. We continued this carefree
joyful outlook through Junior and Senior High School, where we both graduated in June of 1962. Back then, who would
have ever thought that a war in a far distant land would call us both into the service of our country; then, who
would have ever thought that this gentle friend of my childhood would lay down his life for his country in a hot
and steaming jungle in far away southeast Asia, far from his home and loved ones? Who ever thought any of us would
surrender our innocence in such a way? Yet today, this wonderful young man is only a memory, a wonderful, beloved
memory and lives on in the hearts and minds of those who knew him and loved him.
Greg was always a model citizen and always chose the high ground in every aspect of his life.
He was in the photo club, and also on our Yearbook staff. He was also a member of the Key Club and distinguished
himself as a 'class act' in whatever he did. He was friendly, had a warm, loving smile and a friendly, put-you-at-ease
personality. I never heard him ever say anything in anger, and I never heard an unkind word come out of his mouth.
Knowing that freedom comes at a high cost, he chose to enlist in the Marine Corps.
There just was no other way for him. A true Patriot! He died as he lived, bravely and with
honor. He is a model of what I'd hope to be.
Greg was killed in a firefight by small arms fire in Thua Thien Province, Republic of Vietnam
on 10 June 1967. His body was recovered and today, lies peacefully in the Gardens of Honor, Court of Freedom, in
Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Glendale, California. Greg, we miss you so much and love you. Rest in Peace, Greg!
Semper Fi! ~ Your Friend,
Hoover Class of '62 - 'The Biggest and Best'
This is the Court of Freedom, Forest Lawn Memorial Park, Glendale, California, where my friend
and classmate Greg Kelly, lies peacefully.. His was the only grave there, decorated proudly with two
American Flags, a symbol of his dedication to our Country, come what may, and his patriotism, wherein he gave his
life to preserve those cherished freedoms, we all have come to enjoy, and often take for granted. Gazing at this
peaceful setting, upon all those graves here, including Gregs, one remembers the great price many have paid so
we can have the right to forget. But we shall never!
The Above Plaque, placed on Greg's grave by his family, reads as follows...
In Grateful Memory of our Cherished
Son and Brother
Lance Cpl Gregory Paul Kelly, USMC
July 30, 1944 ~ June 10, 1967
Who gave his life in the service of his country
in Quang Tri Province, Republic of Vietnam
The strength of your character, the
unselfishness of your bravery,
the sparkle of your smile will ever be
Our Pride in you, Greg, is endless
In the belief that a heart, filled with love, knows no separation from those who live on
in memory, these words, spoken by the Lord Jesus Christ, are inscribed here:
"This is my commandment, that ye love one another, as I have loved you. Greater love
hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends..." ~ John 15:12-13
We love you Greg, we miss you, and always will. This single rose is a symbol of one's lasting
Devotion, and I place it here, to show how much you are loved and truly missed by myself, and by those who knew
and loved you.
This Devotion can never end, as long as there are Roses to give one another, and loved ones
to give them to. This Rose is laid here at this memorial to call Remembrance to the lives lost, but never forgotten;
it signifies the Love and Devotion and National Gratitude for the Sacrifices which all the names on this Wall have
made so that we Americans can live, sleep, work and play within Free and Safe Borders.
~ Jake ~