For generations, Santa Clarita Valley residents have answered the call to serve this country and have acted selflessly, by putting the safety and well-being of others ahead of their own. Our sons and daughters in Santa Clarita continue to serve in all branches of the military at home and abroad to ensure America remains the greatest nation in the world.
While the tradition of service in Santa Clarita has extended as far back as World War I — and perhaps earlier — the holiday paying tribute to those who have died serving the United States dates to at least the 1860s when women decorated the graves of fallen soldiers before and during the Civil War. This Memorial Day, as has been done every year since then, we take time to honor our local heroes who have paid the ultimate price while serving our nation.
Each year, the Santa Clarita Valley Memorial Day Committee and Eternal Valley Memorial Park and Mortuary hold a Memorial Day Ceremony to honor our heroes’ sacrifice. Please stay tuned for more information on how you can participate in this event or view the ceremony as it happens. This year, the ceremony will highlight veterans of the Gulf War, and local Girl Scouts, Brownies, Boy Scouts and Cub Scouts will place more than 5,000 American flags on veterans’ graves in Eternal Valley. Attendance is limited for the in-person event, and residents can RSVP by searching “Santa Clarita Memorial Day Tribute 2021” at Eventbrite.com.
I also encourage you to visit two locations in Santa Clarita that are dedicated to those who have died while serving — the Fallen Warriors Memorial Bridge and the Fallen Warriors Monument. Both are beautiful places where you can stop, reflect and honor your loved ones, friends and neighbors.
The Fallen Warriors Memorial Bridge is located where Golden Valley Road meets Newhall Ranch Road. Along that stretch of roadway are Hometown Heroes banners for the city’s Gold Star service members, those who lost their lives while serving our country. To spend extra time in reflection at the Fallen Warriors Memorial Bridge, walk or ride your bicycle along the Santa Clara River Trail from the River Village or Five Knolls areas.
The Fallen Warriors Monument honors all Santa Clarita service members known and unknown who have perished in combat since the start of World War I. The monument is located within Veterans Historical Plaza at the intersection of Newhall Avenue and Market Street in Old Town Newhall. The plaza also includes personalized bricks honoring those who have served in the military. While orders have closed for 2021, bricks can be ordered to be installed prior to Memorial Day 2022 by calling 661-284-1420 for information.
Memorial Day is not the only time that you can show support for our service members and their families, however. In addition to visiting the Fallen Warriors Memorial Bridge and Fallen Warriors Monument, I ask that you take time to learn about and consider contributing to the various veterans’ organizations in Santa Clarita. These organizations provide key support to not only the veterans in our community but also the spouses and family members of those we have lost.
Santa Clarita residents can also purchase a Hometown Hero banner to be displayed during Memorial Day, the Fourth of July and Veterans Day. Gold Star banners are produced by the city at no charge, while the families of actively serving military members can pay for a banner to be produced. The Hometown Heroes banner program is a great way to show our support for the service members and their loved ones who continue to sacrifice to keep our country safe. You can learn more about the Hometown Heroes program, including how to sponsor a banner for a military family in our community, at santa-clarita.com/Heroes.
As we begin summer and our state becomes less restrictive, there has never been a better time to pause and take every opportunity to show our gratitude for those who work every day to preserve our freedoms. Please say “thank you for your service” to our veterans and their families, who have given so much. We are truly grateful to all our members of the military.
May you be safe.
Mayor Pro Tem Laurene Weste is a member of the Santa Clarita City Council and can be reached at [email protected].