Memorial Day Remembered in Montrose

Even a pandemic couldn’t halt remembering those fallen in defense of America.

Photos by Mary O’KEEFE
Victoria Malone, executive director of the Montrose Verdugo City Chamber of Commerce, read a poem by Catherine Anne McNeil titled “The Wall” as Steve Pierce looks on.


Although it may seem that about everything changed due to COVID-19, several things remained the same including honoring U.S. military men and women on Memorial Day who paid the ultimate sacrifice for their country. However, there were adjustments to events held around the area.

The Memorial Day commemoration that is normally held at Two Strike Park was brought to video for everyone to share. That video can be found at the CVW website,, and it is found within last week’s article “Veterans Prepare Virtual Memorial Day.” In addition to the video, a private remembrance was held on Monday at Two Strike Park by members of the American Legion Post 288 and Veterans of Foreign Wars 1614.

A classic car caravan goes through the intersection of Honolulu Avenue and Ocean View Boulevard as it wound its way through the Crescenta Valley.

A small event was also held at the Montrose Vietnam Memorial at the corner of Honolulu Avenue and Ocean View Boulevard. Bagpiper Bobby Kilgore started the ceremony with a rendition of “Amazing Grace.” Organizers Steve Pierce, a Vietnam veteran who served in the U.S. Navy, and Victoria Malone, executive director of the Montrose Verdugo City Chamber of Commerce, thanked all who worked to pull together the event and those who left flowers at the site’s wall including the Montrose Shopping Park Association, the Chamber of Commerce, Montrose Peace Vigil, La Crescenta Nursery, La Crescenta Woman’s Club and community members.

Also recognized was Michael Morgan who has taken over the task of preserving the Vietnam Memorial, from cleaning the surrounding areas to planting and maintaining the flowers that surround the memorial.

Pierce shared a history of the memorial, built in 1968. The memorial cost about $1800. Don Carpenter, the publisher of the then-community paper The Ledger Newspaper, donated the first $1000. After an article appeared in the Ledger requesting donations the community stepped up to donate the rest of the needed funds. In fact, they gave so much money that Carpenter had to tell people to stop donating. On June 14, 1968 – Flag Day – the Montrose Vietnam War Memorial was dedicated with seven names engraved on a plaque on the wall. Today there are 24 names.

According to the Montrose Verdugo City Chamber of Commerce, local Vietnam Veterans of America and the office of former Congressman David Dreier confirmed this was the first memorial in the nation dedicated exclusively to soldiers who lost their lives in the Vietnam War.

Since 1970, there has been a Memorial Day event at the Memorial.

On Monday, Malone read a moving poem by Catherine Anne McNeil titled “The Wall.” The poem and the list of the 24 names on display at the memorial can be found online at

Crescenta Valley High School student Norah Kranst played “Taps” as the event came to an end. Over 50 classic cars from Early Rodders then drove west on Honolulu Avenue in recognition of those who served and sacrificed their lives. The classic car caravan continued throughout the community driving past several locations including fire stations, the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Dept.-Crescenta Valley Station and several assisted living homes. 

For a video of the event, click on the QR code at the end of this article with a smart phone or visit