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Eternal Valley, American Legion To Host Memorial Day Events

memorial_day_flagWith thousands of flags placed on graves by local Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts, Eternal Valley Memorial Park in Newhall will be the gathering place for the 23rd annual Memorial Day Ceremony celebrating, honoring and remembering those who have served our country in the military.

Patriotic songs from the Santa Clarita Master Chorale and a Condor Squadron flyover are just two of the highlights of the event, which begins at 10 a.m. Monday at the cemetery on Sierra Highway.


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Congressman Buck McKeon, who chairs the House Armed Services Committee, will be the keynote speaker of the day. Retired Navy Senior Chief Petty Officer Duane Harte, chairman of the Santa Clarita Parks, Recreation and Community Services Commission, will serve as Master of Ceremonies.

“We are proud to once again provide a pivotal gathering place for our community to come and pay tribute to those brave individuals who made the ultimate sacrifice for our nation, men and women who died serving our country,” said Jim Biby, marketing director of the Dignity Memorial network, which owns Eternal Valley.

The distinctive sound and appearance of the AT-6 planes of the Condor Squadron flying overhead will mark the commencement of the 23rd Annual Tribute to veterans, which is organized by the Santa Clarita Valley Veterans Memorial Committee.

Gold Star families will be honored during a special tribute given by City Councilman Bob Kellar and Dick Jeffrey. Chris Unthank, father of fallen Marine Jake Suter, will read a poem entitled “Long Is Its Passing,” written by his son.

Our innocence is gone

Long is its passing

Deep is the mourning

Fierce is our retribution

As we believe ourselves

Worthy to exact the same price

And take what was robbed from us

 

Our love is gone

Long is its passing

Great is the cost

For we have given up our civility

Raised ourselves above our brothers

And seek to achieve our

Pathetic facade of equality

 

Our Faith is Gone

Long is its passing

Deception was the culprit

No longer can we immerse

Ourselves in a single good work

For science tells us there is no god

 

Our Glory is gone

Long is its passing

Fear is the supplanter

How can we stand strong?

In the face of adversity

When there are no

Battles to be fought

 

My courage is not gone

Nor shall it ever be

Valor shall have its place

As long as more than one

Good man stands to fight for it

For the world will not perish

And neither shall I

Till whatever power above me

Strips me of my nerve

The Little Ladiez will sing the National Anthem and Rabbi Mark Blazer will offer a blessing. Other musical tributes will be offered by the Santa Clarita Valley Concert Band and the SCV Master Chorale.

Board of Equalization Member and former Senator George Runner, whose daughter Rebekah, serves in the U.S. Coast Guard, urged Californians to take time this Memorial Day weekend to remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice to defend our freedom.

Runner said, "As flags are flown throughout the country to honor the valor and courage of the brave men and women who gave their lives defending our county, let us remember that the liberties we enjoy today came at a great price."

"In memory of our honored dead I invite Californians to take a moment this weekend to share with their family, friends and neighbors the importance of Memorial Day," added Runner.

Often viewed as the unofficial start of summer, Memorial Day has deep roots in American History.

Formerly known as Decoration Day, Memorial Day became a federally observed holiday in 1967 when the tradition of decorating the graves of fallen soldiers had spread nationwide. Unlike Veterans Day which honors living veterans, Memorial Day commemorates the men and women throughout the history of our country who died in battle paying the ultimate sacrifice for the safety and well being of all Americans.

Since Decoration Day was first observed in the 1860's, more than one million men and women have given their lives in sacrifice to our country. Flags are flown at half mast from dawn until noon to remember these brave souls. At noon the flags are raised to full mast by the living, who continue to honor their memory.

Runner concluded, "Even this year brave Americans overseas continue to fight and die for our freedom. As these valiant soldiers are put to rest let us offer a prayer this Memorial Day in respect and gratitude for the rights and liberties we are blessed to have."

Following the ceremony at the Eternal Valley amphitheater, the audience will be invited to the Veterans Memorial Wall at the top of the park for the reading of the more than 850 names inscribed on the wall. Refreshments will be provided.

And immediately after the readings, the community is invited to the American Legion Post #507 on Spruce Street (near the new library building) in Newhall for a barbecue. Food will be served from noon to 4 p.m.; there is no cost, but donations are appreciated. The Post is located at 24527 Spruce Street. For information, call 661-259-7507.

For more information about the ceremonies at Eternal Valley, call (661) 259-0800 or visit http://www.eternalvalleymortuary.com.