Mill Valley Police officers raise the flag during a ceremony at Lytton Square on May 26, 2014. Photo by Ken Friedman.

Organizers of the annual Mill Valley Memorial Day Parade have expanded the flag-raising ceremony that precedes it, adding live music from Singers of Marin and short talks from local veterans as well as winners of the student essay content, “What Memorial Day Means To Me.” 

The ceremony, centered on the theme “Honoring those who gave their lives for freedom,” takes place at 9:45am at Lytton Square, the tree-laden island that splits Throckmorton Avenue between Miller and Corte Madera avenues into two. The island features a trio of towering redwood trees, a flagpole and a number of places to sit. It is named for Lytton Plummer Barber, Mill Valley’s first WWI casualty, as memorialized in a plaque on the island.

According to longtime local history buff Tim Amyx, Barber grew up in Mill Valley and was 17 years old in 1917 when the United States entered World War I. He volunteered and was sent for training at Fort Lewis. Shortly after he arrived, he caught the fever of spinal meningitis. Tragically, it claimed his life within two weeks. He died stateside before he ever left the continental U.S., the first casualty from Mill Valley. The following spring, on Memorial Day of 1918, there was a dedication in his honor in Mill Valley, and thus Lytton Square was born.

The 411: The flag-raising ceremony is at 9:45am at Lytton Square. The parade begins at Old Mill Park at 10:30am, turning onto Miller Ave. before heading to Tam High. 

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