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Valley Veterans Saluted PDF Print E-mail
Written by Alex Garcia   
Thursday, 08 November 2012 05:51

Annual Parade Honors Those Who Have Served the Country

Marching bands and military vehicles, as well as hundreds of people lined up along the parade route, will pay homage to veterans past and present during the 10th annual San Fernando Valley Veterans Parade on Sunday, Nov. 11.

"We have all these veterans, past and present, who come out to be recognized for their service to the country," said Fred Flores, one of the event organizers. "And that's what you see; the pride and honor, and the thanks from the people who come to pay tribute to those who have served."

Flores said the parade has grown to be "a vibrant event where people from all over come to the Valley to participate and be proud of their service." The parade, which began in 2004, is scheduled to start at 11:11 a.m. on the corner of San Fernando Mission and Laurel Canyon boulevards in Mission Hills. From there, it runs about a mile to end at Ritchie Valens Recreation Center In Pacoima, where there will be an information fair for veterans.

A squadron of WWII era Condor planes from the Van Nuys Airbase will fly over the parade route during the event. The vintage AT-6 Texan aircraft, used in WWII training missions, will be followed by the massive Boeing C-17A Globemaster III, America's most versatile airlift aircraft. The C-17 is used to airlift troops and cargo to bases all over the world.

The Department of Veterans Affairs Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System (VAGLAHS) will participate in the parade with a float.

"GLA is pleased to participate in the 2012 San Fernando Valley Veterans Day Parade. We are here to honor our veterans, all the brave men and women who set aside their personal safety to defend and protect our nation," said Donna Beiter, VAGLAHS director.

"We are excited to announce our float's theme this year which is, 'Thank You Veterans.' The VA float will feature proud veterans and healthcare workers."

VAGLAHS is the largest healthcare system within the Department of Veterans Affairs. There are 1.4 million Veterans in the GLA service area.

This year's Grand Marshall is Jorge Villegas, deputy chief for Los Angeles Police Department Operations Valley Bureau. A private first class when he served in the U.S. Army, 1983-85, Villegas is a graduate of the University of Southern California's Delinquency Control Institute, the FBI National Academy, and the West Point Leadership Development Program, where he also has been an instructor.

The World War II era Honorary Grand Marshall is Lt. j.g. Ben Berger, U.S. Navy, 1942- 1945; the Korean War era Honorary Grand Marshall is Private-2 Reverend Braxton G. Berkley, U.S. Army 1953-1963. Vietnam War era Honorary Grand Marshall will be Seaman Frank La Rosa, U.S. Navy 1969- 1973. Sgt. Donald Boon, U.S. Marine Corps 1982-1991 will serve as Desert Storm era Honorary Grand Marshall.

Also, Sgt. 1st Class Paul Ramos, U.S. Army, will serve as Operation Enduring Freedom Honorary Grand Marshall. On Nov. 3, Congressman Howard L. Berman presented Ramos with the Purple Heart medal to Ramos during the welcome home warrior ceremony for Delta Company, 425 Civil Affairs Battalion, Encino. Ramos was injured in an IED blast two days before redeployment. The force of the blast lifted his vehicle approximately 16 feet in the air, rolled down an embankment and into a body of water. The truck began to submerge and he was able to egress despite sustaining a number of injuries.

President Woodrow Wilson first proclaimed Nov. 11 holiday as "Armistice Day" in 1919, to commemorate the date and time when the World War I ended.

In 1945, WWII veteran Raymond Weeks from Birmingham, Ala., had the idea to expand Armistice Day to celebrate all veterans, not just those who died in World War I. By 1954, Congress had replaced "Armistice" with Veterans Day. In the mid-70s the holiday was celebrated on the fourth Monday in October, but returned to Nov. 11 for good in 1978.

Last Updated on Thursday, 08 November 2012 05:54