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This Saturday, Long Beach Partners of Parks and the Long Beach Veterans Commission will join forces to celebrate the 15th anniversary of the Lone Sailor memorial statue's placement in Bluff Park.

The statue, depicting a sailor with his duffle bag staring out to sea, was erected on Oct. 13, 2004, with funding from the Long Beach Navy Memorial Heritage Foundation. It is the only one of the 15 existing Lone Sailors to look out onto the open ocean.

Saturday's ceremony will mark that anniversary along with the 244th birthday of the U.S. Navy. The event will honor those who served in the Navy, Marines, Coast Guard and Merchant Marines, and those who have dedicated bricks to their loved ones at the Lone Sailor Memorial Plaza.

Mike Murray, chair of the U.S.VETS Long Beach Advisory Board, will emcee the ceremony, which begins at 10:45 a.m. Oct. 12 at the memorial, near the Ocean Boulevard, Paloma Avenue intersection. The large replica of the USS Long Beach missile cruiser will be on hand for the event.

Over the years, more than 600 memorial bricks have been purchased and installed at the memorial plaza. Bricks still can be purchased at partnersofparks.org/memorials.html.

Saturday, the Long Beach Community Band will provide the music while Sweet Peas Florist is providing flowers to place on memorial bricks. Retired Navy Capt. Braden Phillips is the featured speaker.

For more information, go to partnersofparks.org.

Harry has been executive editor of Gazette Newspapers for more than 26 years. He has been in the newspaper business for more than 35 years, with experience on both weekly and metropolitan daily papers in Colorado and California.

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