Unbeknownst to former U.S. Marine tank commander Cpl. Sid Kirshner as he drove up to a military storage yard in Newhall, he was about to be surprised with a small ceremony in his honor on Saturday.
Organized by his friends and his son, the 84-year-old-veteran, who served in Korea from 1953-1954, was greeted at the gate of the military storage yard, located on the corner of SIerra Highway and Newhall Avenue, by the Marine Corps League Color Guard and a small group of his family and close friends.
As he walked into the gated area, Kirshner saw Steve Chambers, president of the U.S. Marine Corps Tankers Association, who held an event to recognize Kirshner’s service. Behind Chambers was an M-47 tank, which resembled the one Kirshner served in during the Korean War.
“We were going to see my grandson, and I was completely blindsided with this event,” said Kirshner.
Surrounded by vintage military Jeeps and tanks, Korean War Veteran, U.S. Marine tank commander, Kishner received the honor – which was meant to recognize his service during the Korean War – from Chambers, and then thanked all those who surprised him.
“Today was about honoring my dad’s service,” said Sid’s son Shawn Kirshner. “And we thought it would be great to do it front of the tank.”
Shawn said the commendation was an honorary designation and recognized him as a member of the Marine Tankers Association. He added that holding the ceremony in front of the tank was made possible after he reached out to Paul Veluzat, a family friend who happened to own both the yard and the tank.
“Even if we didn’t know them, anytime we can honor a veteran … it’s a great thing to open the gates and do something like this,” said Veluzat. “You saw it in his own eyes, and just seeing his hand shake to come back and look at that tank and run his hand down the fender its exciting. To honor a man like Sid is an awesome thing.”
The tanks are on display the Newhall lot almost year round, Veluzat said, and are only taken off the set when they’re rented out to the entertainment industry.
After the ceremony, the party honoring Sid then relocated to Melody Motion Picture Ranch, for lunch and a tour of the various sets around the park.