Memorial Day is about remembering those who died in battle.

These veterans don’t get to enjoy any barbecues or family gatherings this weekend.

Their families will instead be missing them.

We should honor their sacrifice.

Here in Orange County, there’s a good opportunity to visit a series of memorial plaques detailing the sacrifices of more than two-dozen local soldiers recognized for valor just outside the Heroes Hall museum at the OC fairgrounds in Costa Mesa.

Fair board members saved the plaques from the county civic center in downtown Santa Ana, where they fell into total disrepair. Voice of OC wrote a series of exposes on the condition of what was formally called the Walk of Honor.

Voice of OC also published the text of the plaques on a special webpage in part to find out more about these heroes and their lives in Orange County. In 2017 two new members were inducted to the Walk of Honor at the museum.

We encourage readers to use the comment fields under each story to help us keep rounding out the biographies of these remarkable local residents.

The plaques present a gripping narrative of individual efforts to defend our nation.

In total, there are 30 plaques recognizing sacrifice from World War I through today’s war against terrorism. There are 11 recognized with the Congressional Medal of Honor, five honored with the Distinguished Service Cross, another 12 recognized with a Navy Cross and one with an Air Force Cross.

This Memorial Day, we highlight two relevant plaques of local residents awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor – Marine Lance Corporal Kenneth L. Worley (Vietnam) and Navy Petty Officer Michael A. Monsoor (Iraq), who both sacrificed their lives for their country.

Lance Corporal Kenneth L. Worley Gave His Life for his Country

Kenneth Worley was born in Farmington, New Mexico on April 4, 1948. On August 12, 1968 he died saving the lives of his fellow Marines by throwing himself on a grenade. The Medal of Honor was presented posthumously to Worley’s family. He is buried in Westminster Memorial Park.

Kenneth L. Worley

Lance Corporal USMC

2D BN, 7th Marines, 1 St Marine Division FMF Vietnam

For action on 12 August 1968, at Bo Ban, Quang Nam Province, Republic of Vietnam, L/Cpl Worley was awarded the medal of honor for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty while serving as a Machine Gunner with company L, 3D BN, 7th Marines in combat against enemy forces. After establishing a night ambush position in the house in the Bo Ban Hamlet of Quang Nam Province, security was set up and the remainder of the patrol members retired until their respective watch. During the early morning hours the Marines were abruptly awakened by the platoon leader’s warning that “grenades” had landed in the house. Fully realizing the inevitable result of his actions, L/Cpl Worley, in a valiant act of heroism, instantly threw himself upon the grenade nearest him and his comrades, absorbing with his body, the full and tremendous force of the explosion. Through his extraordinary initiative and inspiring valor in the face of almost certain death, he saved his comrades from serious injury and possible loss of life although five of his fellow Marines incurred minor wounds as the other grenades exploded. L/Cpl Worley’s gallant actions upheld the highest traditions of the U.S. Marine Corps and the U.S. Naval Service. He gallantly gave his life for his country.

Orange County Walk of Honor by AMVETS

More about Kenneth Worley:

Master-At-Arms Second Class Michael A. Monsoor Dies While Saving His Comrades

Michael Monsoor was born in Long Beach, CA on April 5, 1981. Monsoor was a Navy Seal. He sacrificed his life on September 29, 2006 while protecting his fellow soldiers.

The President of the United States of America, authorized by

Act of Congress, 3 March 1863, has awarded the Medal of Honor to

Master-At-Arms Second Class (Sea, Air and Land)

Michael A. Monsoor

United States Navy

For conspicuous gallantry and an intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty as Automatic Weapons Gunner for Naval Special Warfare Task Group Arabian Peninsula, in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom on 29 September 2006. As a member of the combine seal and Iraqi army sniper overwatch element, task with providing early watching and standoff protection from the rooftop in the insurgent held sector of Ar Ramadan, Iraq. Petty Officer Monsoor distinguish himself by his exceptional bravery in the face of grave danger. In the early morning, insurgents prepared to execute a coordinated attack by reconnoitering the area around the element’s position. Element snipers thwarted the enemy’s initial attempt by eliminating two insurgents. The enemy continued to assault the element, engaging them in a rocket propelled grenade and small arms fire. As enemy activity increased, Petty Officer Monsoor took a position with his machine gun between two teammates on an outcropping of the roof while the Seals vigilantly watched for enemy activity. An insurgent threw a hand grenade from an unseen location, which bounced off Petty Officer Monsoor’s chest and landed in front of him. Although only he could have escaped the blast, Petty Officer Monsoor chose instead to protect his teammates. Instantly and without regard for his own safety, he threw himself onto the grenade to absorb the force of the explosion on with his body, saving the lives of his two teammates. By his undaunted courage, fighting spirit, and unwavering devotion to duty in the face of certain death Petty Officer Monsoor gallantly gave his life for his country thereby reflecting great credit upon himself and upholding the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service.

Orange County Walk of Honor by AMVETS

More about Michael Monsoor:

Thanks to Jonathan Morgan Jenkins from Performance Production Services who kindly donated the veteran videos for Heroes Hall.

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