Community honors veterans with Christmas Tree and Menorah Lighting

Mayor Marsha McLean spaeks as Dante Acosta, Laurene Weste, Bill Miranda and Cameron Smythe look on at the 14th Annual Military Honor Christmas Tree & Menorah Lighting at Veterans Historical Plaza in Newhall Saturday night. Cory Rubin/The Signal

Community members gathered together Saturday night to honor the military, both past and present, with the 14th annual Christmas tree and Menorah lighting in the Veteran’s Historical Plaza.

Former 38th District Assemblyman Dante Acosta was present at the event and served as a master of ceremonies. 

“There is no finer community that I’ve ever found or even visited, than the Santa Clarita Valley,” said Acosta. “I just want to thank you all so much for your support over the years to our family and to all the Gold Star families, and how much that actually means to all of us.” 

Dante Acosta gives the opening remarks at the 14th Annual Military Honor Christmas Tree & Menorah Lighting at Veterans Historical Plaza in Newhall Saturday night. Cory Rubin/The Signal

Photos of those who served or are serving in the military were laminated and placed on star ornaments for the tree. If the stars were blue, that represented active-duty service members, white stars and angels were veterans and gold stars represented someone who died while serving, according to the city of Santa Clarita website. 

A singing duo kicked off the event by singing Christmas carols with the audience. Those in the audience came for different reasons, whether it be to support the veterans and active military in the community, or veterans themselves coming to support one another. 

Mike Garcia, a former Navy fighter pilot, was the guest speaker of the event. In his speech, he emphasized the importance of supporting one another, especially those who were not there to celebrate at the ceremony. 

“Let’s remember that we are blessed to be here and to have what folks on these memorials around us fought for and in many cases, died for,” said Garcia. “The simple act of lighting the tree and menorah behind me is the moment we bond as Americans.”

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