Honoring those on this Memorial Day

Sunday Signal

On this Memorial Day, as we fire up the barbecue with family and friends, I invite everyone to take a moment to remember those who have defended our country, protected our values and upheld our way of life.

In Santa Clarita, we know how important it is to recognize and appreciate the sacrifices made by our soldiers and their families.

The City of Santa Clarita is proud to honor those who have served, and those who are currently serving. One way we are able to do this is through our Hometown Heroes Military Banner Program. Each year around Memorial Day, The Fourth of July and Veterans Day, residents can drive through City streets and be greeted by the faces of local heroes on banners displayed on street poles.

Families of active duty members have the opportunity to purchase one of these banners to honor and celebrate their hero. The banners include the service member’s picture, name, branch and rank, and are hung at one of four locations in the City.

Assistance in the form of sponsorships is available for families who may need some help purchasing a banner. The two eligibility requirements to receive a banner include being

• an active duty member in the United States Armed Forces, and

• a resident of the Santa Clarita Valley, including Castaic and Stevenson Ranch.

Immediate family members of Santa Clarita Valley residents are also eligible to receive a banner. The deadline for those who wish to order a banner and have it hung in time for Memorial Day is April 23.

Another special way for families and friends to recognize their loved one is through a free digital banner that is featured on the City’s Hometown Heroes website. For more information on the City’s Hometown Heroes Military Banner Program, visit santa-clarita.com/heroes.

Looking for a way to celebrate Memorial Day this year? Join fellow community members at Eternal Valley Memorial Park’s Memorial Day ceremony. This annual event brings Santa Clarita together to honor and remember our service members. The event will take place on Monday, May 27, and will include patriotic music performed by the Santa Clarita Valley Concert Band.

Residents may also consider taking a stroll through the Veterans Historical Plaza, located at 24275 Walnut Street in Old Town Newhall. The Plaza features a bronze statue of William J. Johnston Jr., or “Willie,” at its center. Willie was a 10 year old drummer boy in the Union Army who played his drums valiantly while never giving up his post. Even at such a young age, Willie showed courage and commitment to his cause which is an inspiration to many. With its historical elements, serene water fountains and proudly displayed flags, the Plaza is a great place to pay tribute to our active and fallen soldiers.

Interested in leaving your own mark on the Plaza? Community members have the opportunity to purchase an engraved brick to be in- stalled in the Plaza. Engravings on the bricks can commemorate a service member, or serve as a way for people to show their support for our veter- ans. Bricks ordered by April 29 will be installed during the week prior to Memorial Day. For more information visit santa-clarita.com/veterans.

Our City Council hopes Santa Clar- ita residents will enjoy this time with family and friends, while honoring those who have bravely served our country.

Mayor Marsha McLean is a member of the Santa Clarita City Council and can be reached at mmclean@santa- clarita.com

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