At least 150 members of the community flocked to the Burbank War Memorial at McCambridge Park Monday morning to celebrate the landmark’s 50th anniversary and completion of its recent renovation as well as to remember those who have served in the military.
From past and present city officials to state and federal representatives, those who attended the city’s annual Veterans Day event were there to recognize the servicemen and women who have or are currently protecting the country.
Assemblywoman Laura Friedman (D-Glendale) said during the event that she has had family members who have either been in the military or have provided support to veterans.
She added that many families in the community have similar experiences and that they should honor those who have served or are on active duty allyear round and not just on dedicated holidays.
“In L.A. County, at any given time, we have, by all estimates, about 4,000 unhoused homeless veterans on our streets, and we need to do more for them,” Friedman said.
State Sen. Anthony Portantino (D-La Cañada Flintridge) reminded the audience that about 22 veterans commit suicide every day and that more support is needed for those who come back from military service.
He commended Burbank and several local nonprofits for being on the forefront of providing mental healthcare to veterans who need it.
“When we think we can’t make a difference — yes, we can,” Portantino said, “And when we think our efforts are but a drop in the ocean, we have to think about what Mother Teresa said, which was, ‘Isn’t the ocean better off with that drop?’”
U.S. Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Burbank) said the country’s servicemen and women are still oversees ensuring that residents of other countries, such as Afghanistan, live in democratic societies.
“[We offer] our thanks today for the brave men and women around the world who are serving in our name, to the intelligence professionals who are helping to guide them and protect them and to all of you present here today who have served. We owe you a tremendous debt of gratitude,” Schiff said.
U.S. Rep. Brad Sherman (D-Sherman Oaks) also attended the event and concurred with Friedman, saying veterans should be honored every day of the year.
“We need to work for our veterans and service members every day, and we need to minimize the number of times we call upon them to put their lives on the line,” Sherman said.
After several years of searching for funding, Burbank officials have finally completed the renovation project of the city’s war memorial, which was built in 1969 and relocated to its current location at the corner of San Fernando Road and Amherst Drive during the 1980s.
Beverly McLeod, whose parents, Frank and Roberta Bullock, helped design the memorial, said after the ceremony that the city did a great job of refreshing the site.
The flags from each branch of the military are now raised on larger flag poles, which surround the obelisk at the memorial.
“It’s really a good design, and I’m pleased with it,” McLeod said. “I know that my parents would be very pleased with it.”
The mastermind behind the renovation project was Mickey DePalo, chair of the Burbank Veterans Committee.
DePalo, who served in the Army during the Vietnam War, said he appreciated the support from former Los Angeles County Supervisor Michael Antonovich and others in the community who helped fund the project and honor all of the veterans who have served the country.
“This is hallowed ground to me,” he said.