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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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ricketzz: Posted: May 27, 2014 6:03 a.m.

What's with the wooden crosses on landscape stakes? Are the Mormons retroactively baptising again or what. If I was a dead atheist soldier and had one of those defiling my final resting place I'd feel betrayed. Why no discussion about the crosses? Are they new? Why do the religious radicals insist on usurping every decent thing about this country?

God or Country. Pick one.

DMeyer: Posted: May 27, 2014 8:22 a.m.

ricketzz get a life.

Unreal: Posted: May 27, 2014 8:28 a.m.

Maybe on the markers it says if they are Christian or not. On my dad's at the cemetery in Riverside (Military cemetery) his marker had a place for his religion (Lutheran).

projalice11: Posted: May 27, 2014 8:30 a.m.

ricketzz good point ??

Unreal: Posted: May 27, 2014 8:46 a.m.

God than country since you asked ricketzz.

CaptGene: Posted: May 27, 2014 8:50 a.m.

racketzz: "If I was a dead atheist soldier and had one of those defiling my final resting place I'd feel betrayed"

Well, you'd be dead, so you wouldn't feel anything, and as a dead person you couldn't complain about it.

Sounds like a win/win.

SReilly12: Posted: May 27, 2014 10:01 a.m.

CaptGene: Spot on!!!

chico: Posted: May 27, 2014 4:03 p.m.

I'm surprised Dad's money and the therapy sessions didn't work.

ricketzz: Posted: May 28, 2014 7:10 a.m.

Religion doesn't help. I think it is used by politicians to make people do stupid things. It is sad that people die for government; especially when government is corrupt.

The Constitution supersedes Bible law. We are people not sheep. This is a secular nation and man's law. Heaven is a cop out, an excuse for failure now.

Unreal: Posted: May 28, 2014 8:44 a.m.

ricketzz: Sorry, but people of faith will not follow country before God.

scvforall: Posted: May 29, 2014 9:26 a.m.

Not everyone is Christian. A Cross is a representation of Christianity. Where there Jewish Stars, Star and Crescents, or Lotus flowers?

The symbols are not placed for the dead, but for their living family members. I would be offended to have someone assume that the cross was the appropriate symbol of my loved one's beliefs.

However, what I found most horrifying of the day, was Buck McKeon using the platform to promote his favorite candidates. This was not a political day, but a day of remembering the loss of those who served, many who have died because of the way Buck and his cronies have voted.

Buck: your message should have been an apology, not a promotion.

scasey: Posted: May 30, 2014 1:04 a.m.

scvforall... Obviously you did not attend the Memorial Day event at Eternal Valley. If you had you would have seen the Star of David among the crosses and noticed that eleven (11) of those crosses were for eleven sons from this Valley (whose families are Christian) who have been lost in time of War. We on the committee don't take this lightly and if you had noticed the over 5600 flags on Veterans' graves, you would also have noticed that they were on all graves of the fallen regardless of religion, etc. And if you had been there, you would have noticed that Buck said absolutely NOTHING about candidates and that Master of Ceremonies mentioned both men present who are running for Buck's seat that is to be vacated. And if you had been there, you would have noticed that no candidates were allowed to speak and all elected officials were recognized. They are all allowed to attend, however, as it is a public place and ceremony so even you are invited and may say whatever uninformed thing you want to say as is your Constitutional right. And for ricketzz, the crosses AND Star of David have been a part of the Memorial Day Tribute at Eternal Valley for many, many years and you are just noticing? And I am like Unreal... God then country... just as in the Constitution. You do know that every single State Constitution refers to God, all 50. Ricketzz, your constant anger and apparent hatred must exhaust you. God Bless you.

Unreal: Posted: May 30, 2014 9:28 a.m.

scasey: Great info about the event. I think that should make it clear that nobody was excluded based on faith and nobody took advantage of the event for political reasons.

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