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Flag and Military Ceremony to Kick Off 4th of July "Freedom Fest and Concert"

Flag and Military Ceremony to Kick Off 4th of July “Freedom Fest and Concert”
Three Congressional Gold Medal Recipients to be honored in Long Beach

(LONG BEACH, CA; June 11, 2012) – "The 4th of July would not be possible without the sacrifice and efforts of our veterans, so what better way to celebrate these men and women than at the inaugural “Freedom Fest and Concert” to be held at Long Beach’s favorite patriotic park – Rosie the Riveter Park and Interpretive Center", says Fifth District Councilwoman Gerrie Schipske.

“We have an evening of wonderful events that begin at 5pm with a flag and military ceremony and conclude with a free music concert performance by The Emperors. This will provide an opportunity for our community to stop by and honor those Long Beach Hometown Heroes who have served our country.”

Schipske notes that among the special guests at the event will be three former U.S. Marines who served during WWII in the only unit allowed for African Americans. They trained at Montford Point Camp at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina. These Marines had to fight for the right to fight in WWII. Their service to our country was finally recognized last year with the signing of a Congressional bill awarding the first black Marines a Congressional Gold Medal. The medals will be presented on June 27 by President Obama. Three of these Marines reside in Long Beach and will be honored at the July 4th “Freedom Fest and Concert.”

Freedom Fest will commence with a flag and military ceremony at 5 pm with the presentation of the colors by the Millikan JROTC Color Guard and the singing of the National Anthem and God Bless America by Erma Vernado. Amazing Grace will be played by Bag Pipe Major Scott MacDonald from the Long Beach Police Department, as the names of the 14 Long Beach men who died in Iraq or Afghanistan are read by members of the military services.

Guest speakers include Bronze Star recipient U.S. Navy Commander Stephen M. Ruggiero and U.S. Coast Guard Captain Roger LaFerriere. Commander Ruggiero was awarded the Bronze Medal, the country's fourth-highest award for bravery, heroism and meritorious service. Ruggiero distinguished himself through exceptionally meritorious service while deployed in support of Operation Enduring Freedom, as the Afghanistan Border Military Coordinator with the Border Management Task Force, United States Forces Afghanistan, from March 27 to October 21, 2011. He serves as Assistant Director of Port Security for the Port of Long Beach.

Captain LaFerriere leads the Coast Guard’s security, safety and environmental protection activities from Morro Bay South to Newport Beach, California. His responsibilities have also included overseeing the on-water recovery and clean up of the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

The Long Beach Veterans Administration Hospital will be bringing a group of veterans to the program. Following the ceremony, the popular local musical group, The Emperors, will give a free concert beginning at 6:30 pm. Food trucks will be available.

For more information, please contact the Office of Councilwoman Gerrie Schipske at: or by telephone: 562 570-6932. Details available at: