By Mary O’KEEFE
This past weekend American Legion Post 288 with support from the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 1016 held an event that they hope will become a tradition – an Armed Forces Day tribute.
“I think it was a terrific [event],” said Gerry Collins, American Legion commander. “About 70% of the people [attending] were veterans…They had their hats and jackets on that listed their branch [of military]. It was great.”
The event included a classic car and military vehicle show. Tanks, jeeps and motorcycles kept the crowds busy, especially the younger attendees who couldn’t wait to jump behind the wheel of an old Army jeep.
All the vehicles impressed, but Collins liked the 1944 Jeep that had been used in Korea. The owner had found and overhauled it bringing it back to its full military glory.
Getting the military vehicles to join the event was a group effort. The American Legion members reached out to former Assemblymember Anthony Portantino for assistance.
“They were having a little bit of an issue in getting equipment and so they called and asked me to help find some military vehicles,” said Portantino. “There is a man [retired three-star General Tattini] who lives in Glendale [and] is a friend of mine, so I asked him to help. He called the National Guard and here we are.”
Portantino was impressed with the event.
“I think first and foremost, local veterans came together to put this on and they did a terrific job. It’s a wonderful crowd,” he said. “Our veterans did a service for this country and are doing a service for this community by highlighting not only their legacy but Armed Forces Day and the appreciation of the military that we all should have every day.”
On Monday, Memorial Day, veterans from the American Legion and VFW will sponsor another event honoring their own – this time remembering those who lost their lives while in service to their country.
American Legion Post 288 and VFW Post 1016 will hold a very different ceremony at Two Strike Park beginning at 8 a.m.
This event is not to celebrate but to remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice. At Armed Forces Day, there was an area of the park that held the names of those active members of the military; on Monday the sidewalk will be lined with similar signs, but this time will have the names of those who have died written on them.
The ceremony will begin with the presentation of colors by the CVHS JROTC. This is the only ROTC within the Glendale Unified School District. It is led by Lt. Col. David Worley and this month is one of their busiest times. They are a part of ceremonies throughout Los Angeles County.
The JROTC will also lead the Prisoner of War and Missing in Action ceremony, one of the more solemn and meaningful observances.
The keynote speaker will be Lt. Col Raffi Najarian who is a base dental surgeon with the 146th Airlift Wing in Pt. Hueneme.
“This is my 20th year with the California National Guard,” Najarian said in an earlier interview.
The American Legion Post 288 and VFW Post 1014 Memorial Day commemoration is on May 25 beginning at 8 a.m. at Two Strike Park, 5107 Rosemont Ave. in La Crescenta.
There are more Memorial Day events throughout the area including one held at the Glendale-Montrose-Crescenta Valley Veterans Memorial at Glendale City Hall. In addition to honoring those who died while serving their country, the event will also pay tribute to surviving veterans of World War II. The Patriotism Committee of the Glendale Veterans Coalition, GTV6 and the City of Glendale organize the event. The keynote speaker will be Major General Mark Mac Carley.
Everyone who attends the service will receive a free Memorial Day pin/button and all attending World War II veterans will receive a gold pin/button honoring them and the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II.
The event begins at 9:30 a.m. at the Glendale-Montrose-Crescenta Valley Veterans Memorial, Glendale City Hall, 613 E. Broadway Ave.
Also on Monday is the annual Memorial Day service hosted by the Montrose-Verdugo City Chamber of Commerce and the Montrose Shopping Park Assn. It begins at 8 a.m. at the Vietnam War Memorial and attendees are encouraged to bring flowers in memory of those who gave their lives. The Vietnam War Memorial is located on the northwest corner of Ocean View and Honolulu Avenue.
Finally, the Memorial Day service at Memorial Park in La Cañada begins at 9 a.m. as part of the three-day Fiesta Days celebration. Memorial Park is located at 1301 Foothill Blvd, La Cañada Flintridge.