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

Inside
Weather
Santa Clarita CA
Mostly cloudy
Mostly cloudy
72°F
 
Calendar
Today in
S.C.V. History
September 21
1974 - COC's new Cougar Stadium opens for first game of football season; Harbor beats COC, 26-21 [story]


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, Sep 20, 2017
L.A. County Fire Sends Search and Rescue Team to Mexico
The Los Angeles County Fire Department’s Urban Search and Rescue Team, known internationally as USA-2, has been deployed to Mexico to assist with the aftermath of a 7.1 magnitude earthquake near Mexico City.
Wednesday, Sep 20, 2017
Murder, Kidnapping Suspect Pleads Guilty, Gets 13-Year Sentence
A Lebec woman charged with murder and kidnapping the children of her half-sister was sentenced 13 years in state prison on Tuesday.
Wednesday, Sep 20, 2017
SCV Deputies Arrest 2 in Neenach Probation Search
Crime Prevention Unit deputies from the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff's Station conducted probation searches in several locations Wednesday, and arrested two people for outstanding warrants.
Keep Up With Our Facebook

Latest Additions to SCVNews.com
Autumn Gratitude, Santa Clarita Artists Association's new show will be open on Sept 28th and run to November 4th, with a free artists’ reception on Friday October 6th, 5 to 9 pm.
SCAA’s Newest Show, “Autumn Gratitude,” Opens
September is for seniors. Businesses around Santa Clarita are taking part in the following SCV Senior Center New Building Campaign events and asking the community to show support.
SCV Businesses Holding End-of-Month Events to Support New Senior Center
The College of the Canyons Athletics department is inviting all staff and students associated with a Santa Clarita Valley school district or campus to attend Saturday's Cougar football game free of charge.
Sept. 23: COC Football Game Free to SCV School District Staff, Students
There is a common insect that most people are not aware of because you never see it. It is mostly active underground. However, if you know what you are looking for, its traps are in many places and are very obvious.
You Won’t See Them | Commentary by Evelyne Vandersande
1974 - COC's new Cougar Stadium opens for first game of football season; Harbor beats COC, 26-21 [story]
A “fabulist” coming-of-age novel about a queer mixed-race boy in the bayous of Louisiana, written by California State University, Northridge English professor Martin Pousson, has won the 2017 PEN Center USA Fiction Award.
CSUN’s Martin Pousson Wins PEN’s Literary Award for Fiction
Public notification that the Santa Clarita Community College District (College of the Canyons) Early Childhood Education Center on the Valencia campus is participating in the USDA Child and Adult Care Food Program.
COC Valencia Participates in USDA Child and Adult Care Food Program
Public notification that the Santa Clarita Community College District (College of the Canyons) Early Childhood Education Centers are participating in the United States Department of Agriculture’s Child and Adult Care Food Program.
COC Canyon Country Participates in USDA Child and Adult Care Food Program
The Santa Clarita Valley Service Center has moved from its previous location in Newhall to a new location in the Santa Clarita Plaza, and will host a grand opening celebration Thursday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Sept. 21: SCV Service Center Grand Opening, Resource Fair
The Los Angeles County Fire Department’s Urban Search and Rescue Team, known internationally as USA-2, has been deployed to Mexico to assist with the aftermath of a 7.1 magnitude earthquake near Mexico City.
L.A. County Fire Sends Search and Rescue Team to Mexico
The city of Santa Clarita invites nonprofit organizations interested in learning more about the city's 2018 Community Services and Arts Grants Program to a meeting on Wednesday, September 27 at 12 p.m.
Sept. 27: Info Session for Nonprofits Seeking City Grants
The Santa Clarita Valley Economic Development Corporation has published an ebook free to entrepreneurs titled '10 Characteristics of a Successful Startup.'
SCVEDC’s 10 Characteristics of a Successful Startup
A Lebec woman charged with murder and kidnapping the children of her half-sister was sentenced 13 years in state prison on Tuesday.
Murder, Kidnapping Suspect Pleads Guilty, Gets 13-Year Sentence
Crime Prevention Unit deputies from the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff's Station conducted probation searches in several locations Wednesday, and arrested two people for outstanding warrants.
SCV Deputies Arrest 2 in Neenach Probation Search
Deputies from the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff's Station wrote 48 citations during Tuesday's bicycle and pedestrian safety operation in Newhall.
SCV Deputies Write 48 Citations in Bike-Pedestrian Operation
California Governor Jerry Brown has until October 15 to sign bills passed at the end of the just-concluded legislative session, including measures authored by Assemblyman Dante Acosta (R-Santa Clarita).
Brown Signs Acosta Motorcycle License Law; Other Bills Await Action
Santa Clarita-based Princess Cruises has presented its first donation from the Princess Animal Welfare Sponsor to the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center in the amount of $25,000.
Princess Cruises Donates $25K to Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center
Habitat for Humanity San Fernando/Santa Clarita Valleys has become one with its sister organization Homes 4 Families, and the new organization continues its mission to build affordable housing for veterans.
Habitat SFV-SCV Changes Name to Homes 4 Families
Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. announced today that Patricia Espinosa, Michael Bloomberg and Anand Mahindra will co-chair the Global Climate Action Summit from September 12-14, 2018 in San Francisco.
Brown Names Co-Chairs of 2018 California Global Climate Action Summit
The Master’s University men’s golf team finished tied for sixth out of 12 teams overall with a 3-over 579 at the CA State Intercollegiate in Ventura Monday.
Master’s Men’s Golfers Middle at Cal State Intercollegiate Match
After dropping the night’s opening set, the Master’s volleyball team slammed down the pedal and refused to let up, beating the University of Antelope Valley 3-1 Tuesday night.
TMU Volleyball Team Sends UAV Pioneers Packing
California’s largest irrigation district on Tuesday rejected funding a contentious $17-billion water project that would replumb the West Coast’s largest estuary.
Major Water District Throws Wrench Into California’s Water Tunnels Plan
California State University, Northridge’s College of Engineering and Computer Science and the David Nazarian College of Business and Economics will co-host the fifth annual Art of Innovation Conference on Friday, Oct. 13 from 8:15 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Oct. 13: CSUN ‘Art of Innovation’ Conference Peers Into Future
Tickets are now on sale for James Hand with the Carolyn Sills Combo on Saturday, September 30 and INCENDIO in Concert! on Saturday, October 7, both groups appearing at The MAIN in Old Town Newhall.
Tickets on Sale for Upcoming Shows at The Main
California Attorney General Xavier Becerra today filed suit against the Trump Administration over its plan to begin construction of border wall projects in San Diego and Imperial Counties.
California AG Sues Feds Over Proposed Border Wall
State schools chief Tom Torlakson, AG Xavier Becerra and Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg will lead a 'Beyond Safe Havens' panel discussion on Friday on how to help students and parents fearful about federal immigration policies.
Sept. 22: ‘Beyond Safe Havens’ Conference on Schools and Immigration
1954 - C-46 cargo plane crashes at Saugus Drunk Farm; Civil Air Patrol chaplains parachute to safety [story]
On the heels of releasing its draft environmental impact report (EIR) for the Lyons Avenue and Dockweiler Drive extension, the city of Santa Clarita is setting its sights on an alternative that would leave Lyons Avenue alone and filter traffic to Railroad Avenue via 13th Street.
City Eyeing Alternative to Lyons Extension
Los Angeles County Supervisor Kathryn Barger is hosting the inaugural Santa Clarita Valley Transportation Summit.
Sept. 21: Santa Clarita Valley Transportation Summit
Preview of Santa Clarita arts-related events for Sept. 18-24.
Sept. 18-24: Santa Clarita Arts Calendar
State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson strongly encourages sixteen- and seventeen-year-old students to pre-register to vote with the beginning of High School Voter Education Weeks from September 18–29.
Sept. 18-29: High School Voter Education Weeks
No. 20 College of the Canyons will host No. 11 Long Beach City College at 6 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 23, at Cougar Stadium.
Sept. 23: Cougars Football Hosts Long Beach City College
College of the Canyons hosted its annual Western State Conference (WSC) tournament a on Monday, coming away with a second place finish behind conference leader Santa Barbara City College at El Cariso Golf Course in Sylmar.
Cougars Golf Takes Second Place at COC Annual Tournament
A potential water rate hike prompted Santa Clarita Water Division officials to call for a public meeting Tuesday evening for its Budget and Rates Committee.
SCWD to Discuss Possible Water Rate Hike at Public Meeting