Every year, Eternal Valley Memorial Park and Mortuary welcome hundreds on Memorial Day to honor the Santa Clarita Valley’s fallen military members. This year, amid the coronavirus pandemic, organizers made sure the community could still pay respects.
The SCV’s Memorial Day Committee coordinated an intimate and solemn closed ceremony that was closed to the public, but will offer an opportunity to tune in virtually this evening.
“This year, I felt that we were going to have to actually have to cancel this program,” said Bill Reynolds, president of SCV Veterans Memorial Inc. “It’s different this year, sure. And by the way, one of the instructions I received from Eternal Valley was to hold the attendance as close to 10 as possible. It looks like I failed at that, but it just goes to show what Memorial Day means to the SCV.”
About two dozen community leaders and their families, with most wearing face coverings, gathered at the veterans section of the park for the celebration that included speeches from Bob Kellar, a Santa Clarita city council member and former Green Beret, and newly elected Rep. Mike Garcia, R-Santa Clarita, a retired Navy fighter pilot.
“As I looked around today, I see the beautiful strength of this great nation. I see the free-flowing love that we have for each other as Americans and the resulting power these things bring,” said Garcia.
“Unfortunately in these divided times and in the midst of the coronavirus, there are those who have lost hope. For those who question the resolve of this nation, they question whether or not there are any real heroes left. I say to them: Look no further than the flags in this cemetery, and to the men and women in uniform today, who have solemnly sworn to carry on their oath, and their legacy,” he added.
The virtual event also included Trinity Classical Academy students who read the names of the troops on Eternal Valley’s memorial wall.
With “Safer at Home” orders continuing to encourage physical distancing, local residents sought out to honor the fallen with their family units, including the Cross family, who stopped by the Veteran’s Historical Plaza in Newhall to read the plaques while donning American flag-themed face coverings.
Eternal Valley’s Memorial Day Ceremony was expected to air 6 p.m. on Monday on SCVTV’s local television channel via Spectrum Cable’s Channel 20 and AT&T’s Channel 99 and can be seen on scvnews.com.