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SCV pays tribute on Memorial Day

Increased turnout marks this year’s ceremony at Newhall cemetery

Posted: May 26, 2014 6:45 p.m.
Updated: May 26, 2014 6:45 p.m.

Mark Sears, staff member with the Young Marines, helps Brenden Dearing, 12, of Boy Scout Troop 2379, secure the flags in the ground next to crosses bearing all the branches of the U.S. military at the Memorial Day Tribute at Eternal Valley Memorial Park and Mortuary on Monday. Signal photo by Katharine Lotze.

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Every year, as witnessed Monday, more and more people turn out for the Memorial Day Tribute in the Santa Clarita Valley, meaning more and more people proudly stand shoulder-to-shoulder with their local veterans honored on that day.

On Monday, US servicemen in uniform kept setting out more chairs for the scores of attendees who kept arriving for Memorial Day Tribute 2014 at Eternal Valley Memorial Park and Mortuary on Sierra Highway in Newhall.

Attendees were treated to a variety of tributes expressed in song and pageantry on a hill overlooking hundreds of American flags placed across the cemetery lawn.

This year, narrators Pam Hogan and Sharon Ventrice, dressed as Betsy Ross, introduced theatrics to the

proceedings when they explained the evolution of “Old Glory” and the meaning behind the proper folding of the American Flag.

The Santa Clarita Valley Concert Band, under the direction of conductor Tim Durand, provided the sound track for Monday’s Memorial Day program, ushering to the podium Master of Ceremonies, Retired U.S. Navy Quartermaster Senior Chief Petty Officer Duane Harte.

“As we honor our vets this morning, we remember all that they sacrificed to protect and defend our flag and our country,” Harte said. “I am so pleased to see more and more people each year.”

“In the past year we lost three people who served us proudly during World War II,” he said.

“The three covered chairs in the front were their chairs for many years — Tommy Johnson, Genevieve Maricola and a founding member of the Veterans Memorial, Tony Maricola,” Harte said, pointing to three draped chairs near the stage.

World War II veteran Private First Class Anthony “Tony” Marincola died last November. His wife, Genevieve, died three months before him. Both were fixtures at annual Memorial Day ceremonies.

As public figures took their seats — including Congressman Howard “Buck” McKeon, R-Santa Clarita, Santa Clarita Valley Assemblyman Scott Wilk, Santa Clarita Mayor Laurene Weste and others — pilots in the Condor Squadron flew overhead for the “World War II at 6 Aircraft Flyover.”

“I want to say thank you to all those people who have taken time out of your day to pay respect and honor to all of our men and women who have served in the Armed Services,” McKeon said.

Reverend Bill Hilton of the Fellowship Christian Church led attendees in two short prayers.

The U.S. Marine Corps League, from Simi Valley, led in the posting of the colors, with local veteran Dick “Tarzan” Jeffrey leading the group in a proud and loud Pledge of Allegiance.

Then, more colors were added to mix with a posting of military flags such as the flag honoringveterans missing in action.

Singing group Rocknacappella — Maddie Young, Grace Hyland, Sarah Sherwood, Connor Hahm, Reese Albertson, Keaton Hoek, Kaleigh Ryan and Zoe Stewart — took the stage to sing the National Anthem.

Then, more flags — this time tiny star-spangled banners carried by members of Boy Scout Troop 2379 — were placed at grave markers arranged at the side of the stage.

Singers with the SCV Master Chorale sang “America (The New Colossus)” before Harte spoke as president of the Santa Clarita Valley Veterans Memorial group and before the Santa Clarita Valley Concert Band acknowledged members of each branch of the Armed Forces

And, as the ceremony wound down and the colors were “retired,” members of Marine Corps League presented a final rifle salute.

Attendees were invited to join religious leaders in a reading of the inscribed names of the Memorial Wall.

However, this year’s tribute came to a close with Lenny Schaustal playing taps and bagpiper Chelsea Joy Wells closing the ceremonies.
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