This Saturday, May 20, Armed Forces Day will be celebrated at Crescenta Valley Park from 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.
BY Mary O’KEEFE
This is the sixth year that Armed Forces Day is being recognized in the Crescenta Valley. On Saturday, American Legion Post 288, Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) Post 1614 and Moose Lodge 641 are sponsoring this fun event that includes a display of classic autos, hot rods and military vehicles. Also expected are first responders including Montrose Search and Rescue. This year the event will have a special salute to the United States Army, which was established in 1777.
Armed Forces Day is a fun family-friendly day where adults and kids get to see their favorite cars and trucks, including fire engines.
“On Aug. 31, 1949 the Secretary of Defense Louis Johnson announced the creation of Armed Forces Day to replace the separate Army, Navy and Air Force Day,” according to the U.S. Dept. of Defense (DOD).
Recognizing all branches on a single day coincided with the unification of the Armed Forces under the DOD.
In a speech announcing the formation of the day, President Harry S. Truman “praised the work of the military services at home and across the seas… It is vital to the security of the nation and to the establishment of a desirable peace,” according to the DOD.
The first Armed Forces Day had a theme of “Teamed for Defense” to highlight the newly formed unification of the military forces. But at its core was a way to show civilians what each branch of the military did, the type of jobs each branch performed and to bring general awareness of the Armed Forces.
“And it was a day to honor and acknowledge the people of the Armed Forces of the United States,” according to the DOD.
That first celebration included parades across the country including military troops marching past the President in Washington, D.C. Over the years the practice of having parades to recognize the day has faded. However, local veterans Gerry Collins and Jim Turner wanted to find a way to honor Armed Forces Day, veterans and those active military. They came up with the idea of having a car show that included military vehicles and then expanded that to include emergency responders.
“We have room for more vehicles [to sign up],” Collins said.
The entry fee for vehicles displaying at Saturday’s event is $30; military vehicles are free. There is a 50/50 raffle; profit from the raffle is dedicated toward the American Legion and VFW children’s charities.
Collins added there will be a competition involving the car show portion of the celebration with a special Best of Show Award that will be presented by a member of Los Angeles County Parks and Recreation.
The event is free to the public and begins at 10 a.m. with the presentation of colors by the Crescenta Valley High School JROTC. There will also be food trucks at the event.