“The Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave.” While these words can be found in our national anthem, “The Star-Spangled Banner,” there truly is no better way to describe what sets the United States of America apart from other nations on the world stage. Since the earliest days of our country, there have been at least two things all Americans agree on: living a life of freedom and protecting that freedom when it is under threat.
“The Land of the Free.” The women and men of the United States Armed Forces put their lives on the line each and every day to defend our country and ensure that our rights and freedom remain ours. Without their selflessness and sacrifice – as well as those of their families – the United States would not be the shining beacon on a hill that it is today. As we continue to show our gratitude and support for those actively serving in the military, we must also remember to honor and respect our nation’s veterans who contribute to the success of our nation here at home.
This Veterans Day, I invite you to join your City Council for the annual Veterans Day Ceremony at Veterans Historical Plaza in Newhall (24275 Walnut St.). This ceremony gives veterans the opportunity to come together to connect with their brethren in Santa Clarita, while also allowing the community to show support for those who have served — as well as honor those who perished in combat. The event will take place on Friday, Nov. 11, at 11 a.m.
The Veterans Day ceremony includes a changing of the flags by the Knights of Columbus Santa Clarita Assembly, Vietnam Veterans of America, Chapter 355, and the Santa Clarita Valley Young Marines. In addition, there will once again be special performances of “The Star-Spangled Banner” and other patriotic songs, as well as tributes honoring each branch of service.
Joining the Veterans Day ceremony is not the only way to honor those members of our community who have served. The city of Santa Clarita also offers the Commemorative Brick Program, which allows members of the community to purchase a brick to be installed within Veterans Historical Plaza. These bricks commemorate the service of the honoree and are placed along the inner and outer ellipse at the plaza. In addition to recognizing a veteran for their service, Santa Clarita residents have also purchased bricks as a memorial to a loved one lost in the line of duty. You can learn more about the Commemorative Brick Program by visiting santaclaritaveterans.com.
Another way to show your support and appreciation for our veterans is by getting involved in the community. The women and men who serve in the military do so to protect our rights – and when they come home that desire to make a difference for others does not stop. Join them by donating your time and resources to those in need so that you can be a positive force in another’s life as well.
I encourage you to seek out local veterans’ organizations and inquire as to how you can directly serve veterans and their families as well. Santa Clarita has a large, strong veterans’ community that will ensure help gets to the place it is needed most.
“The Home of the Brave.” Our active-duty military members and veterans certainly are brave, though it is their sense of duty, their commitment to the community and their call to put the needs of the whole over the individual, that truly defines them. Without their selflessness and tenacity – and yes, bravery – the United States of America would cease to exist. This Veterans Day, take time to find a veteran and simply say, “Thank You.”
Mayor Pro Tem Jason Gibbs is a member of the Santa Clarita City Council and can be reached at [email protected].