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Veterans Day Ceremony draws some 200

Posted: November 11, 2013 5:18 p.m.
Updated: November 11, 2013 5:18 p.m.

Members of the audience stand to applaud during the Veterans Day Ceremony in Newhall on Monday. Signal photo by Charlie Kaijo

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U.S. Army veteran Howard Watkins, of the 28th Army Division, parked his wheelchair next to the empty chairs reserved for Private First Class Anthony Marincola and his wife, Genevieve, during Monday’s Veterans Day Ceremony in Newhall.

The two old soldiers found each other during last year’s Veterans Day Ceremony, learning they had fought together in the Battle of the Bulge, one of the costliest World War II battles in terms of U.S. casualties.

When asked about it, Watkins said quietly: “What came before it was much worse.”

Monday’s ceremony sponsored by Santa Clarita and held at Veterans Memorial Park was the first in years without Marincola, who died Friday at age 96.

The event drew some 200 spectators. It was a chance for old soldiers to meet old friends, to honor the fallen in battle, the recent dead from battles past and the living who remain to tug on old uniforms and receive “thanks” for their service.

Watkins’ granddaughter, Kim Brosnan, like many of the relatives of servicemen who attended the Monday’s ceremony, described not only the pride she felt for her grandfather and his service, but also her praise for the elaborate ceremony.

“We bring him here every year,” she said. “It’s a great chance for him to feel part of the big picture.”

And, what a big picture it was, including: testimonials from Santa Clarita Mayor Bob Kellar; the “Battle Hymn of the Republic” performed by the 4 of Harts singing group; the national anthem sung by the Men of Harmony group; a rousing version of “Proud To Be An American” sung by Bob Zachar; a distinguished color guard presentation by the Blue Eagle Honor Guard and prayers led by Pastor John Shaver of the United Methodist Church of Valencia.

“It’s larger than it’s been, and every year there are more and more people,” U.S. Army Specialist Randy Phillips said after the ceremony. “It’s a great tribute to those people who served in the military.”

Retired U.S. Navy Quartermaster Senior Chief Petty Officer Duane Harte said: “It takes a lot of coordination to put on something like this — and to keep it going smoothly.”

The man center-stage who helped ensure the ceremony ran smoothly was master of ceremonies and Marine Corps veteran Dick Jeffrey, who began the service with a minute of silence for fallen servicemen and women.

Dale Turner read a tribute to military personnel listed as missing in action or prisoners of war.
on Twitter @jamesarthurholt



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