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Organization: Santa Clarita Valley Veterans Memorial Committee
Date: May 22, 2009
Memorial Day Tribute to Veterans 2009
    The distinctive sound and appearance of World War II vintage aircraft flying overhead will mark the commencement of the twenty-first annual Tribute to Veterans on Memorial Day, Monday, May 25, 2009. Over a thousand Santa Clarita Valley residents, many dressed in red, white and blue, will gather beneath the towering oaks and on the surrounding grassy hills of Eternal Valley Memorial Cemetery for the annual Memorial Day Tribute to Veterans. This year's Tribute will be dedicated to America's Veterans of the Vietnam War.
    Citizens and organizations from all over the Santa Clarita Valley support the annual Tribute to Veterans, which insures that the significance of Memorial Day and of community spirit are passed on to succeeding generations of our community's youth. On the Saturday before Memorial Day, more than 500 area Brownies, Girl Scouts, Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts come to Eternal Valley to place over 4,000 American flags on the graves of veterans. Santa Clarita's Elk's Lodge (BPOE #2379) provides lunch to the boys and girls when they have finished the flag placements.
    The Memorial Day Tribute to Veterans has been organized by the Santa Clarita Valley Veterans Memorial Committee and Eternal Valley Memorial Park for the past 21 years to honor the men and women who have given their lives to win and preserve America's freedom. The Committee raised private donations to build the Veterans Memorial, consisting of four white marble blocks holding black granite panels on which the names of over 850 SCV veterans are now inscribed. The memorial was dedicated in 1992.
    The Master of Ceremonies will be Santa Clarita Chamber of Commerce President Bill Kennedy, a retired Colonel of the U.S. Air Force. This year's observance will begin with a special recognition of Vietnam-era veterans. The national and state flags will be presented by the William S. Hart High School JROTC. Veterans from the Lost Patrol-Vietnam Veterans of America, Chapter 355, American Legion Post 507, VFW Post 6110, VFW Post 6885 will all post the flags of the military services and their veterans' organizations.
    This year's guest speaker is Santa Clarita City Council Member and former Mayor, Bob Kellar, a veteran of the U.S. Army who served during the Vietnam era. A local Boy Scout will lead the pledge of allegiance to the flag and a local performer will sing the national anthem. The invocation and benediction will be delivered by a local clergyman.
    As the one-hour observance progresses, there will be participation by members of the community of all ages. Many civic organizations provide wreaths for the ceremonies. Cub Scouts will place small flags on symbolic grave markers near the stage. The JROTC Drill Team will demonstrate their skills and precision timing and the SCV Concert Band will provide music throughout the ceremonies.
    To conclude the first portion of the day's ceremony, American Legion Post 507 will render the final honors to the American flag, the All Veterans Burial Squad from San Fernando will render the rifle salute, followed by the playing of "Taps." Near the end of the ceremonies, the U.S. Air Force will make a low altitude pass with the giant C-17 Aircraft.
    In the second portion of the day's ceremonies, all in attendance will be invited to proceed to up the hill to the Veterans Memorial Wall for the public reading of the more than 850 names inscribed there. Aaron Shaw, a renowned Scottish bag piper in full Highland military dress uniform, will invite the audience to the Memorial Wall for the reading with a medley of military tunes and will render final honors with "Amazing Grace" after all the names have been read.
    Refreshments will be provided at the end of the program by Eternal Valley Memorial Park, which is celebrating its own 51st anniversary.
    Please join the SCV Veterans Memorial Committee and Eternal Valley Memorial Park in remembering all our nation's veterans, and particularly the veterans of the Vietnam War. The Memorial Day Tribute to Veterans will be held Monday, May 25 at 10 a.m. at Eternal Valley Memorial Park 23287 Sierra Highway. Parking is available in the park and along Sierra Highway approaching the park entrance. Some seating is provided. Attendees may bring folding chairs or blankets.
    For information about inscribing the name of a deceased veteran on the Memorial Wall, please contact Committee Treasurer Kathy Van Duzee at 661-294-0882.
    — David Zucker
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