[Sign Up Now] to Receive Our FREE Daily SCVTV-SCVNews Digest by E-Mail

Inside
Weather
Santa Clarita CA
Sunny
Sunny
80°F
 
Calendar
Today in
S.C.V. History
January 17
1994, 4:31 a.m. - Magnitude 6.7 Northridge earthquake rocks Santa Clarita Valley [video]


It was hard to find anyone at Veteran’s Historical Plaza who was not a veteran themselves or directly related to someone in service to our country at the city’s annual Veteran’s Day program Friday morning.

Under a white tent put up in case overhead clouds threatened to open up and rain on those gathered, speakers talked about the importance of patriotism and gratitude.

Hundreds filled the grassy area beyond the flags of every service branch, a sea of folding chairs filled and people as far as you could see standing on the perimeter and filling the areas near the fountain at the end of the block. Many wore their uniforms, or clothing and caps bearing the name of their units and service affiliations. Others simply bedecked themselves in red, white and blue.

Featured speaker Capt. Ed Colley with WWII Army veteran Tony Marincola

Retired Naval Officer Duane Harte, in dress blues, emceed the event. J.D. Kennedy, a member of the American Legion, asked for remembrance of the prisoners of war and those missing in action. A single table with an empty chair stood at the corner of the stage, the plate bearing lemon for the bitterness of the soldier’s plight and salt for the tears of those missing their loved one.

Mayor Marsha McLean, whose son recently retired as a Major from the Marine Corps, thanked the crowd for their support, noting that the number of people attending the event grow every year.

“We live in the greatest nation in the world and our flags are flying proud for that,” she said. “It’s due to all of you here today who have served, all of those who are serving and all of those who will serve to make sure that our freedom is preserved. We will prevail, I know that.”

After the changing of the flags by members of the Knights of Columbus, the Little Ladiez performed the National Anthem and members of the Valencia ROTC did a rifle drill.

But the most moving of all presentations was the keynote by Captain Ed Colley, who teaches the ROTC classes for the Hart District and shared some intensely personal observations.

Colley joined the U.S. Army after his high school graduation in 1975 and spoke of the cold shoulder offered returning veterans returning from Viet Nam – and how that attitude has undergone an “enormous sea change” over the last four decades, especially since the events of Sept. 11, 2001.

The group of veterans in the annual picture has grown since Santa Clarita's Veterans Day ceremony moved to this location in 2005. Click to enlarge.

He credited the public’s pressure on the government to provide adequate protective equipment when troops are sent overseas and shared the reaction of his two sons who served in Iraq in 2005 when they received care packages from people they had never met.

“While they appreciated the sentiment, they found it was a little embarrassing and felt there were others whose service was more meaningful,” he said.

“We’ve seen the benefits change and at the end of Viet Name, veterans benefits began to be tailored as an inducement for young people to enlist. And the national dialog began swinging back to seeing the importance of providing for the legitimate needs of all veterans,” he added.

“Thirty years ago, many veterans suffered real ailments most likely related to their exposure to the defoliant Agent Orange,” he explained. “Most were denied medical treatments by the Veterans Administration because they could not prove a link between their services and the medical issues they faced.

“Today, there has been a 180-degree shift,” he continued. “The VA now presumes that these problems are caused by Agent Orange and help is available.”

Thanking a veteran - in writing.

Colley went on to note that, while the national change in attitude was therapeutic, the local support of troops’ families is treasured.

“We are here in the Veterans Historical Plaza, this place which honors every veteran was created throught the work and partnership of a great many people,” he said.

He went on to explain that initially, there were concerns that the park could be the target of graffiti, but such has not been the case.

“As it turns out, this place is held in such high esteem by everyone that no such mischief has taken place,” he said.

Returning to his personal recollection, Colley added some context.

“Our son, Pfc Stephen Colley had Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and traumatic brain injury,” he said. “He told the medical staff he could not sleep and had persistent thoughts of suicide, but his plea for help was simply ignored.

“Because of the disjointed delivery of health care to our troops, he was sent home, alone, with directions to use a powerful mind-altering narcotic. After Stephen took his own life, the officer investigating this tragedy on behalf of the Army concluded that the proximate cause of his death was the failure of the military system to provide any meaningful care for this soldier in distress.”

Colley said that he shared their family’s tragedy for a reason.

“Very few people in our community know these details,” he said. “Most people just knew he took his own life. But there hasn’t been a person who has indicated to me, either in thoughts or actions, that his service was any less heroic, or less meaningful. We are all humbled and honored by this unbelievable support we receive from this great community and by the way you shared the pain of our loss.”

Santa Clarita’s support of veterans and their families is also evident in its structures and memorials, which offer comfort to the number of Gold Star families that continues to grow. The Rotary Clubs have constructed a gazebo and garden dedicated to the military at the Santa Clarita sports complex; NorthPark Community Church has an Honor Court on its central walkway and the city recently dedicated the Fallen Warriors Bridge on the cross-valley connector.

Councilwoman Laurene Weste with new plaque commemorating the late Sen. Pete Knight's efforts to help establish Veterans Historical Plaza

In addition, Colley mentioned the recent launch of Habitat for Heroes, an effort to blend volunteers and corporate support to rebuild and rehabilitate homes for returning veterans as a show of gratitude.

“The College district seeks out veterans and helps them use the benefits they have earned,” he continued. “We have several chapters of veterans groups, including the Veterans of Foreign Wars, the American Legion, the Blue Star Mothers and Prayers Angels for the Military provide support and we are the home of a new group, Tempered Steel, which educates youth and breaks down stereotypes using the voice of the disabled and disfigured veterans.”

“Honoring and respecting our veterans is not a zero sum game,” he said. “It is important to the extent that we can go back and honor all veterans. So today, we gather on this very special day to honor those who have beaten back tyranny, fascism, communism and now, terrorism. I am proud beyond measure to have had the opportunity to work with so many brave, honorable and hard-working men and woman of integrity who have sacrified so much to guarantee the freedoms we enjoy.”

The event concluded with recognition for each branch of service, for the parents and families of those in service and a group picture of all veterans in attendance.

Comment On This Story
COMMENT POLICY: We welcome comments from individuals and businesses. All comments are moderated. Comments are subject to rejection if they are vulgar, combative, or in poor taste.
REAL NAMES ONLY: All posters must use their real individual or business name. This applies equally to Twitter account holders who use a nickname.

0 Comments

You can be the first one to leave a comment.

Leave a Comment


SCV NewsBreak
Loading...
LOCAL NEWS HEADLINES
Wednesday, Jan 17, 2018
Small Brushfire in Newhall Quickly Doused
Los Angeles County Fire Department firefighters quickly extinguished a 1/4-acre brush fire in Newhall early Wednesday afternoon.
Wednesday, Jan 17, 2018
Deputies Step Up Pedestrian, Bike Safety Enforcement Today
The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department is stepping up bike and pedestrian safety enforcement operations in the Santa Clarita Valley today, officials announced this morning.
Wednesday, Jan 17, 2018
Deputies Check Businesses After Hours, Arrest 2 on Drug Charges
Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff's Station deputies checking on businesses after hours arrested two people on drug charges in separate incidents in Canyon Country on Monday and Newhall on Tuesday.
Keep Up With Our Facebook

Latest Additions to SCVNews.com
Tuesday night's 93-37 rout of St. Katherine University was more than just a non-conference tune-up for the TMU women's basketball team.
Master’s Women’s Hoops Team Shoots Down Firebirds
iLEAD Schools will honor College of the Canyons Chancellor Dr. Dianne Van Hook with its 'Vision in Education' award at the Santa Clarita Valley International School’s annual benefit dinner on March 10.
iLEAD to Honor COC’s Van Hook with 2018 ‘Vision in Education’ Award
Los Angeles County Fire Department firefighters quickly extinguished a 1/4-acre brush fire in Newhall early Wednesday afternoon.
Small Brushfire in Newhall Quickly Doused
Los Angeles County Assessor Jeffrey Prang and the county Board of Supervisors have proclaimed January "Homeowners' Exemption Awareness Month" promote the county's property tax savings program.
County Officials:  January is ‘Homeowners’ Tax Exemption Awareness Month’
In an effort to provide support to local communities affected by the recent hurricanes in the Caribbean, and after the sell-out of the inaugural group on the January 20 Crown Princess sailing, Princess Cruises and Fathom Travel are adding two additional spring sailings in 2018.
Princess Adds More Caribbean Cruises for Spring 2018
California State University, Northridge journalism professor David Blumenkrantz documents the stories of the homeless of Los Angeles in an art exhibition titled “Street Scenes: Making the Homeless Count,” on display at the San Fernando Valley Arts and Cultural Center in Tarzana through Jan. 27.
CSUN Prof Uses Grant to Illuminate Homelessness in LA
Host College of the Canyons rallied from a nine-point halftime deficit to defeat the visiting Seahawks of Los Angeles Harbor College 96-82 on Saturday evening.
Cougars Win Third Straight with 96-82 Victory Over L.A. Harbor
The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department is stepping up bike and pedestrian safety enforcement operations in the Santa Clarita Valley today, officials announced this morning.
Deputies Step Up Pedestrian, Bike Safety Enforcement Today
Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff's Station deputies checking on businesses after hours arrested two people on drug charges in separate incidents in Canyon Country on Monday and Newhall on Tuesday.
Deputies Check Businesses After Hours, Arrest 2 on Drug Charges
A Canyon Country man was killed and three people injured in a high-speed traffic collision on Golden Valley Road at Dorothy Street in the unincorporated area of the Santa Clarita Valley late Tuesday night, according to the CHP.
High-Speed Crash in SCV Leaves 1 Dead, 3 Injured
The U.S. Justice Department is appealing a court order that blocked the Trump administration from shutting down a program that shields more than 700,000 young immigrants from deportation.
Justice Dept. to Appeal Ruling That Blocked DACA Shutdown
A Los Angeles County sheriff’s officer was arrested Tuesday and charged with taking bribes 'to oversee the delivery of narcotics,' federal prosecutors said.
Dirty LA Sheriff’s Officer Busted for Drugs, FBI Says
The cost of the first phase of California’s high-speed rail project through the state’s Central Valley has soared by 35 percent to $10.6 billion, officials disclosed Tuesday.
California Bullet Train Cost Climbs by $2.8 Billion
Dozens of attorneys general including California's filed a petition Tuesday challenging the Federal Communication Commission’s recent decision to roll back net neutrality rules.
State AG’s Sue FCC to Block Net Neutrality Rollback
1994, 4:31 a.m. - Magnitude 6.7 Northridge earthquake rocks Santa Clarita Valley [video]
More than 4,000 newborns in Los Angeles, including some in the SCV, will be sporting little red caps, instead of the traditional pink or blue, as part of the American Heart Association’s Little Hats, Big Hearts program aimed at bringing attention to heart disease.
Newborns to Sport Little Red Caps as Part of AHA Campaign
College of the Canyons Small Business Development Center (SBDC) will be hosting a two-part Business Events and Training Webinar Jan. 24 (Part 1) and Jan. 31 (Part 2) from 12:00 p.m. - 1:00 p.m.
Jan. 24, 31: Start, Grow Your E-Commerce Empire Webinar
The Santa Clarita Valley Veteran Center has found a permanent home in Newhall.
SCV Veteran Center Finds Permanent Home
The California Enterprise Development Authority will be holding a Teleconference Meeting Thursday at 10:30 a.m.
Jan. 18: CEDA Teleconference Meeting
The Oversight Board to the Former Redevelopment Agency of the city of Santa Clarita will hold its Regular Meeting Thursday at 3:30 p.m.
Jan. 18: Oversight Board to the Former Redevelopment Agency Regular Meeting
NORTHRIDGE, Calif - The 2018 CSUN Water Polo season presents the opportunity for the Matadors to take the next step.
Matadors Start 2018 Water Polo Season Ranked No. 21
Santa Clarita Valley International (SCVi), a free public charter school serving grades TK through 12, will host an informational session Thursday for current and prospective high school students in the school’s Shakespeare Theatre at 28060 Hasley Canyon Road in Castaic, the school announced Tuesday.
Jan. 18: SCVi Open House, High School Information Session
Commercials, television shows, and a short film are all being filmed in Santa Clarita this week.
Currently Filming in SCV: Shadow Wolves, Seal Team, Toyota Commercial
SACRAMENTO – Attorney General Xavier Becerra joined a bipartisan group of 18 state attorneys general Tuesday in urging Congress to advance legislation that will enable the cannabis industry to participate in the banking system in states that have legalized medicinal or adult use of cannabis.
Becerra, State AGs Press Congress to Let Cannabis Biz Use Banks
The 25th Anniversary of the City of Santa Clarita’s annual Cowboy Festival, presented by Heritage Sierra Medical Group, is set for Apr. 19 - Apr. 22.
Dates Set for Cowboy Festival’s 25th Anniversary
College of the Canyons, in partnership with the Santa Clarita Valley Senior Center, will host a free “Family Caregivers Essentials” workshop on Saturday, Jan. 27 at the Santa Clarita Valley Senior Center.
Jan. 27: Family Caregiver Workshop at SCV Senior Center
SACRAMENTO, Calif. - As the California High-Speed Rail Authority continues to move from the planning phase to full construction of the nation’s first high-speed rail system, the Board of Directors announced Tuesday that it has selected a new Chief Executive Officer, Brian P. Kelly, to lead the organization, effective Feb. 1.
Brian P. Kelly Named New High-Speed Rail Authority CEO
During her first 25 years in the Santa Clarita Valley, Betty served on the board of the Child and Family Center. She was also a volunteer for the American Red Cross, the American Heart Association, the SCV Chamber of Commerce, the Zonta Club of SCV, the SCV Boys and Girls Club, and the local Elks Lodge.
Seldner, 2000 SCV Woman of the Year, Dies at 94
1926 - Newhall Community Hospital, est. 1922, opens in larger, more modern hospital building at 6th & Spruce streets [story]
The cities of Santa Clarita, Piru, Fillmore, Bardsdale and Santa Paula along with National Historic Site Rancho Camulos will mark the 90th anniversary of the St. Francis Dam Disaster with special events throughout March 2018.
St. Francis Dam Disaster 90th Anniversary Events Set for March
A man arrested for allegedly burglarizing a Walmart Monday morning posted bail, then was soon arrested again for allegedly vandalizing the Valencia Library, according to officials.
Man Arrested After Alleged Walmart Burglary, Library Vandalism
The minimum wage in the city of Santa Clarita for all industries is $11 an hour for businesses with 26 or more employees and $10.50 an hour for businesses with 25 or fewer employees, effective January 1.
Santa Clarita Hourly Minimum Wage Now $10.50-$11
Princess Cruises has unveiled the 2018 programming to be featured at the Valencia, California-based cruise line's custom designed wilderness treehouse at Mt. McKinley Princess Wilderness Lodge.
Princess Cruises Invites Guests to Play in the Trees This Summer
The Master's University women's basketball coach netted a 78-50 win over San Diego Christian at Grossmont College.
Tough Mustangs Take Out Hawks 78-50
Returning on Saturday after a 91-69 win over San Diego Christian, The Master's University men's basketball team found itself in a markedly better position than it was at this time last season.
Mustangs Beat San Diego Christian, Win 17th Straight
College of the Canyons sophomore volleyball player Emily Burns has signed a National Letter of Intent with San Diego State University, after she earned conference Player of the Year and All-State team honors and led the Cougars to the CCCAA State Championship tournament.
Emily Burns Signs with San Diego State University