Veterans Day – a Time to Remember, a Chance to Help

File photo
As in previous years, American Legion Post 288 and VFW Post 1614 are holding a Veterans Day commemoration in Two Strike Park.

The local American Legion and VFW posts need a helping hand.



The Great War World War I was supposed to be the end, the “war to end all wars.” And when it came to a close and the armistice was signed on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month, the world wanted to celebrate. On the first anniversary of the armistice signing, America celebrated its first Armistice Day, thanking the veterans of the Great War and all wars prior to that for their service. In 1926, Congress passed a resolution to make Armistice Day an annual observance. That same year, American Legion Hall Post 288 was built in La Crescenta. And while the Great War wasn’t the end of all wars, its ending was the beginning of Veterans Day. In 1954, Congress changed the name of the holiday to Veterans Day to commemorate veterans of all wars.

“On Veterans Day we celebrate all of the men and women who have served, in peacetime and wartime. We celebrate their service and we celebrate their contributions to the community,” said Lynn McGinnis of American Legion Post 288. “We do not celebrate or talk about those men and women who were killed in action, missing in action or prisoners of war [on Veterans Day]. That’s Memorial Day. And we do not specifically celebrate the active-duty men and women around the world – that’s Armed Forces Day, the third Saturday in May.”

American Legion Post 288 will hold its annual celebration to honor those who served and to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the armistice signing and the end of the Great War. The post will hold a ceremony at Two Strike Park at 11 a.m. on Monday, Nov. 12. Monday is the legal holiday, the observance day, though Veterans Day is actually the day before.

Veterans Day, as McGinnis said, celebrates not only service to the country in the armed services, but also the veterans’ continued service to their towns and communities. Their service doesn’t end just because they come home. For the veteran groups in the Crescenta Valley, service is ongoing. No matter what the event is around town, no matter what cause one is working for, no matter how large the obstacles in their way, the veterans of American Legion Post 288 and Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 1614 make themselves available to move tables, clean up, help fundraise or host an event. They have given tirelessly to every group in the community, especially those groups that support youth in the area.

And now it’s their turn to ask for a little help.

“We have a need to bring our parking lot up to modern standards and fix a couple of issues,” McGinnis said. “Like 90% of the people up here, we’re on the side of the hill. So when it came time to update our parking lot, it required a significant amount of grading and engineering work, and that’s driven the cost up. We’re estimating a cost of $36,000.”

McGinnis said the Legion has $12,000 earmarked for repairs and, to raise the additional money, is kicking off a fundraising campaign. The campaign starts today, Thursday, with donation envelopes found in this issue of the CV Weekly.

“We hope our campaign will raise funds for the final $24,000 and we can bring that parking lot up to par,” he said.

Many of the Vietnam-era veterans are now in their senior years. Getting from the uneven parking lot into the Legion Hall is becoming more difficult with each passing year. These refurbishments will make the lot easier to traverse not only for the vets but also for the many youth groups and community members who use the Legion Hall for their activities as they have since it was first constructed.

“From the time it was originally built in 1926, it has been a focal point in the community. Prior to the flood of 1934, it sat over on Fairway and Rosemont avenues. It was a social center in the community, hosting Saturday night dances [and the like]. Many community organizations used it for their meetings. Then, on the night of the New Year’s Flood in 1934, the Red Cross was using the building as a shelter in that horrible mud and rockslide that the flood brought down from the foothills and it got knocked off its foundation,” McGinnis said.

In the middle of the Great Depression, there wasn’t money to build a new Legion Hall outright so the building was salvaged and moved to its current location at La Crescenta and Manhattan avenues on a parcel of land donated by the Benetto family, at the time a wealthy real estate family. The parking lot was built the following year in 1935 at the new location and, other than fixing asphalt and repainting, it hasn’t had major structural work since then.

“Going full circle, this building has remained a focal point of the community for organizations to use, particularly youth organizations,” McGinnis said. “We just need to bring our 1935 parking lot up to 2018 standards.”

To donate to the fundraiser, use the envelope found inserted into this issue of CV Weekly or donation checks can be made payable to Verdugo Hills Memorial Hall, and sent to P.O. Box 223, Montrose, CA 91021. For credit card donations, visit