A Golden Valley High School student took the stage at the Santa Clarita Valley Senior Center at Bella Vida to sing the national anthem.
He admitted to the audience he was nervous to sing.
The audience of attendees and veterans joined in with him to sing every word of the national anthem, setting the tone of the event.
The Santa Clarita Valley Chamber of Commerce hosted its 13th annual Salute to Patriots on Wednesday to honor local veterans for their service and dedication to the country.
Among the dignitaries in attendance were Mayor Jason Gibbs, Councilwoman Marsha McLean, Councilwoman Laurene Weste, Councilman Bill Miranda, Stephanie English representing Supervisor Kathryn Barger, Tammy Stevens representing Rep. Mike Garcia, R-Santa Clarita, Kris Hough representing Sen. Scott Wilk, R-Santa Clarita and Gabriela Lopez representing Assemblywoman Pilar Schiavo, D-Chatsworth.
“The city of Santa Clarita is always proud to partner with SCV Chamber of Commerce on this truly important event,” said Gibbs.
Capt. Justin Diez of the SCV Sheriff’s Station led all in attendance in the pledge of allegiance.
Seven veterans were nominated by their peers and chosen to be honored at the event for their service: Dale McLean, Erik Klem, Cecil Hammock, Hal Lustig, Jack Elliott, Samuel Curameng Jr. and Christina Casas.
“It’s humbling to be recognized for something you do every day,” said Curameng Jr.
Each of the honorees was introduced by a speaker who shared the honorees’ story and why they were nominated.
“It’s an honor to have served my country, especially during a time of war, not a popular war, when people would flip you off and spit at you. It was not a good time to be in the military,” said Lustig. “I’m very thankful that we get the accolades we deserved back then.”
English also presented each honoree with a challenge coin on behalf of Barger.
“You are not only national heroes, but you are also our hometown heroes as well, so thank you,” said John Musella, president of the SCV Chamber of Commerce.