The catastrophic mutilation of the prized Moreton Bay fig tree in La Crescenta is the latest in a series of debacles that have given rise to a reawakening in our community — a renewed and blistering realization that our heritage and aesthetic values remain completely vulnerable within unincorporated L.A. County.

On the day of yet another weekend demolition, galvanized Crescenta Valley residents showed up in droves and succeeded in preserving what was left of the mangled tree ("Owner stops chopping," Nov. 22).

David Meyers was right ("Character is key to the Crescenta Valley," Nov. 27) — the tree was not saved. Its dignity and majesty have been destroyed, and the eerie sight shocks anew each time I drive down Foothill Boulevard.

And yet, the disfigured remains evoke a sense of pride in my community for insisting that our identity be respected and the things we cherish preserved. If it survives, the Moreton Bay fig tree will serve as an oxymoronic reminder of our community's vulnerability and our resolve. The tree is no longer a vestige of our heritage; it is a new symbol of who we are today.

We must use this lesson to continue the fight against disfiguring developments looming ahead, like the proposed 229-unit housing project slated for the Verdugo Hills Golf Course property. For the past four years, Glendale-Crescenta VOICE, or Volunteers Organized in Conserving the Environment, has championed the preservation of the Verdugo Hills Golf Course as its sole issue, vigilantly continuing to monitor events and advocate with government officials.

All communities surrounding the golf course must be proactive in this fight, or we will find ourselves scrambling to show up in droves on a weekend when backhoes have begun digging up the driving range. We must stay on the offensive so as to not be caught off guard yet again.

Residents can learn how to participate in preservation efforts for the Verdugo Hills Golf Course at SaveTheGolfCourse.org, a comprehensive website dedicated to saving this recreational and open-space gem.

The tragic Moreton Bay fig tree has become our warning cry. Its altered visage is a clarion call to us to remain engaged in the long-term struggle to retain our precious resources and our quality of life.

Sharon Hales

La Crescenta

Editor's note: Hales is vice president of Glendale-Crescenta VOICE.

Questions about military honorees

The other day I received in the mail my copy of City Views, and on Page 2 in the upper-right-hand corner there was an article about honoring our military personnel, but only if they are deployed to Iraq or Afghanistan and activated after Sept. 1, 2001.

I personally feel that that is wrong, and that we should honor all military personnel from our fine city of Glendale who are on active duty regardless of where they are serving or when they went in.

Also, in this article they mentioned the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines and Coast Guard. What about the National Guard?

Richard Jenkins

Glendale