Ventura County Veterans to Be Honored at Events

From a Times Staff Writer

Several Veterans Day activities are planned around Ventura County today in honor of those who served during the nation's wars.

A service will begin at 10:30 a.m. at Ivy Lawn Memorial Park in Ventura to honor Marine Sgt. Michael Bitz, who died during the first days of the invasion of Iraq.

Bitz, 31, was killed March 23 near Nasiriyah. His mother and one of his four children, who live in Port Hueneme, will participate in the ceremony, which will include a 21-gun salute, a reading of the Gettysburg Address and the release of doves.

Navy Lt. Cmdr. Christopher Kurgan will discuss the experiences of local Seabees in Iraq and the Pacific Coast Highlanders Pipe Band will perform.

In Oxnard, another program will start at 11:11 a.m. at Plaza Park, at 5th and C streets. The keynote speaker will be Navy Lt. Cmdr. Chad Lee.

Also featured will be Christine Portillo and the Voices of Love Choir.

In Simi Valley, a program beginning at 11 a.m. at Veterans Plaza in Rancho Tapo Community Park will include color guards, music and tributes.

The Ronald Reagan Presidential Library will feature a display of missiles, Civil War reenactments, a speaker at 11:11 a.m. and a concert at 1 p.m. Admission to the library will be free to military veterans.

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