Laurene Weste: Honoring our local veterans on Memorial Day

Council member Laurene Weste
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Memorial Day is America’s opportunity to remember and honor the men and women who have sacrificed everything to protect our freedoms and way of life. Seventy-five years ago, victory in Europe and the Pacific brought an end to the most horrific war the world has ever known. The veterans of World War II became known as the Greatest Generation. We honored our military and veterans then as we do now. We thank them for their service; they are one of our greatest blessings!

Here in Santa Clarita, we are surrounded by beautiful mountains and ideal weather, and our people have created an incredibly close community. We are very patriotic. We have long been a place people wanted to raise families and put down roots. It is for these reasons so many military veterans have settled here, and countless of our native sons and daughters have chosen to serve in our nation’s armed forces. This Memorial Day is the time for our community to come together in support of our military families who have lost a loved one, show appreciation for residents on active duty and honor our veterans at home.

In this time of social distancing, we may not all have the ability to honor our neighbors in the way we usually do. It is very important that we celebrate and remember our heroes while also following public health orders and guidelines to keep our families safe.

Ways to commemorate Memorial Day

There are still plenty of ways, however, to commemorate Memorial Day this year.

You can drive down to Old Town Newhall for a visit to Veterans Historical Plaza, which is located at Market Street and Newhall Avenue. In addition to seeing the flags of our armed forces and the public art sculpture of “Willie, the Drummer Boy,” families can see bricks they have had engraved for service members over the years. You can also stop to visit the incomparable Fallen Warriors Monument, which celebrates the lives of all known and unknown Santa Clarita Valley residents who have lost their lives in combat since World War I.

Those at home can go to the city of Santa Clarita’s Hometown Heroes website to view photos of all of the Hometown Heroes who have banners hung throughout the year. There is also a special section of the website dedicated to our city’s Gold Star Fallen Warriors, and families of those serving in the military can learn about ordering a banner for their loved one. Please visit santa-clarita.com/Heroes for more information.

Speaking of our heroes, I encourage all residents in Santa Clarita to participate in the #HeartsforHeroes campaign. This fun and engaging project is a great way for parents and children to decorate a paper heart to show their support for heroes in their lives, including military personnel and veterans.

All that is needed is access to a printer, coloring supplies and a little imagination! Simply visit santa-clarita.com/HeartsforHeroes to print out a template. Then you can decorate your heart any way you’d like, using your designs, words of encouragement and meaningful pictures. When you are done, you can tape it to your door or inside a window facing out to share with your neighborhood!

Even if you or your family members are not on active duty or veterans, the chances are that you know someone who is. As residents of the Santa Clarita Valley, let us unite behind this common bond and support one another while honoring our fallen warriors, active duty military members and Santa Clarita veterans this Memorial Day.

Let us remain vigilant and strong, showing our support for all those whose courage has maintained our freedoms and very special way of life.

Councilwoman Laurene Weste is a member of the Santa Clarita City Council and can be reached at [email protected]

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