[KHTS] – With the highest per capita population of veterans in California, and the second highest in the nation, it’s no surprise Veterans’ Day and Veterans’ Day weekend were full of ways for the community to honor local men and women who have served in the United States Military.
It started Saturday, with a groundbreaking for the veteran housing project, the culmination two-year effort of Habitat for Humanity of the San Fernando and Santa Clarita Valleys and its coalition Habitat for Heroes.
When completed, the veteran village near Bowman High School in Santa Clarita, will offer 87 new homes, community gardens and playgrounds and 15 acres of open space.
At Saturday’s ceremony, volunteers worked on doors that will eventually be installed in the homes.
SoCal Gas Company and Union Bank donated $10,000 and $25,000 checks, respectively, to Habitat for Humanity.
Veterans who qualify for a house in the new community must also provide “sweat equity” to help build their new home.
On Monday, city officials and the community gathered at the Veterans Historical Plaza in Newhall at 11 a.m. to honor veterans and active duty military personnel.
Santa Clarita City Council, veteran Bill Reynolds, Pastor John Shaver and Marine Corps veteran Dick Jeffries spoke at the event, in addition to a flag changing ceremony and the National Anthem performed by the SCV Men of Harmony.
The Veterans’ Day ceremony is a free, annual event organized by a volunteer committee of community members.
And throughout the weekend, a local Iraqi Freedom veteran Josh Murphy created his own Veterans’ Day commemoration on social media, read full story here.
The “Veterans’ Day Sacrifice” Facebook event currently has 95 members, who have all pledged to give up something for the day in honor of the sacrifices veterans have made.
People have planned to give up everything from coffee to speaking with their family for a day.
There was one local veteran, 96-year-old Anthony Guy Marincola of the 17th Airborne Division, who was not able to participate this year’s Veterans’ Day events, but he will be remembered as a dedicated man.
Marincola died Friday, leaving behind a legacy of service to country and to fellow veterans once he returned from war.
He received a purple heart and bronze star for his sacrifice and heroism during World War Two’s Battle of the Bulge.
Marincola is survived by his two daughters, three grandchildren and two great grandchildren.
Special recognition was also paid to Tommy Johnson, a World War II veteran whose life story is told in the play, “Wartime Romance,” written by his daughter. Johnson died earlier this year.
The memory of Marincola and Johnson was front and center at Monday’s ceremony in the form of empty chairs in their honor.