Veterans salute during the flag ceremony at the Bella Vida Senior Center's Veterans Day tribute event. November, 08, 2019. Bobby Block / The Signal.

Bella Vida senior center honors veterans

By Bobby Block

Signal Multimedia Journalist

A densely packed crowd gathered into the grand ballroom at the Bella Vida senior center to honor local veterans at the center’s Veteran’s Day Tribute Event.

The gathering kicked off with a flag ceremony in which veterans recited the Pledge of Allegiance and sang the National Anthem.

Barbra Jones plays the National Anthem during the flag raising ceremony at the Bella Vida Senior Center’s Veterans Day Tribute event late Friday morning. November, 08, 2019. Bobby Block / The Signal.

They then proceeded into the center’s ballroom where they were served a multicourse meal and enjoyed live performances of patriotic music.

“It’s nice to be appreciated,” said former Navy SEAL Max Morgan. “Especially for those of us … who were Vietnam War veterans. We had no welcome home, and this restores our faith in a warm welcome.”

A Vietnam War veteran attaches the American Flag to the pole during the opening ceremony of the Bella Vida Senior Centers’ Veterans Day Tribute event late Friday morning. November, 08, 2019. Bobby Block / The Signal.

Over 300 people attended the event, according to Robin Clough, Bella Vida’s volunteer and advocacy coordinator.

“We can never do enough to pay tribute to our veterans,” said Clough. “It’s like we’re now christened at Bella Vida now that we’ve had this event here.”

The gathering also featured an opportunity for guests to meet with members of “Pinups for Vets,” a group of female veterans who visit other vets dressed as 1940’s era pinup girls.

“We try to give back to the community through one-on-one interaction with Vets,” said Pinup member Jennifer Marshall. “When we meet with these vets, it makes me feel good; it fills a hole in my heart that I had when I left the military”.

Local elected officials, including Santa Clarita Mayor Marsha McClean and City Councilmember Bill Miranda, also spoke at the event, thanking veterans for their service.

Jerry Rhodes leads the procession of flags for the opening ceremony of the Bella Vida Senior Center’s Veterans Day Tribute event late Friday morning. November, 08, 2019. Bobby Block / The Signal.

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