‘It’s Been Memorial Day — Every Day’: Gold Star Families Remember Military Loved Ones in Irvine Ceremony

They spoke of the sacrifices of war, but what united this gathering of people on the eve of Memorial Day was the yearning for peace of mind.

Irvine resident Tatiana Pineda, 27, holds her children Mason Pineda, 4, left, and Aiden Pineda, 6, as they sit next to a memorial in Northwood Community Park in Irvine. (Credit: Francine Orr / Los Angeles Times)

Ten Gold Star families met at an Irvine park Sunday to help dedicate the expansion of a memorial honoring every American service member killed in action in Afghanistan and Iraq. They held hands, they prayed and they revealed nightmarish memories of learning about the deaths of their loved ones — openly sharing so that they can continue to heal, they said.

For those who have lost a child in service to their country, the search for peace “may be never-ending,” said Debi Win’E, whose 22-year-old son Trevor Win’E was killed by an improvised explosive device while working as a gunner on an Army truck along the main supply route in Mosul, in northern Iraq. “Everyone has their own way of handling tragedy. We choose to keep honoring these men and women.”

A crowd of nearly 300 people joined the families at the Northwood Gratitude and Honor Memorial at Northwood Community Park. Members of different generations posed for pictures next to the etched names of those they cherish.

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