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Services honor fallen heroes

Joshua Pelzer

McCAMBRIDGE PARK -- It was a time to honor local heroes as grateful

residents gathered across Burbank and Glendale for Memorial Day

celebrations.

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In Burbank, children carried small American flags while veterans

were honored with poems, speeches and the city’s community orchestra

at McCambridge Park on Monday.

Pictures of Burbank veterans and their biographies were on

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display, along with letters of gratitude from soldiers for the city’s

Hands Across the Battlefield, a citizens’ support group for

servicemen and servicewomen.

“I was in Vietnam, and we used to get stuff from people here in

Burbank, and I remember what that meant to me, particularly when they

were from people who I didn’t know,” group member Marc Cutter said.

“When it comes from somebody that you don’t know or you don’t expect

it from, it means a lot more.”

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Cutter, who served a year as an Army lieutenant in Vietnam, said

the group delivered more than seven tons of supplies to soldiers

overseas last year.

Eric Christoffersen and his Boy Scout Troop 204 laid roses on the

park’s war memorials. Eric, 16, came to Burbank when he and his four

siblings were adopted from Russia 10 years ago.

"[The ceremony] makes me appreciate my country more and think

about people who served to make this happen,” he said.

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Robert Phillips, 80, served 32 years in the Army and saw action

during World War II and in Vietnam.

“I attend [the service] every year. It’s very moving and we like

this one,” he said. “It’s our Burbank.”

Glendale residents gathered at the Veterans Memorial at City Hall

to hear U.S. Marine Command Sgt. Maj. Stuart Fuller III deliver the

keynote address.

Fuller said Glendale has always answered the call to battle at

home and abroad.

“I would imagine a soldier, bloody and dying on the battlefield,

dreaming of just such a city like this backed up against the

mountains, a small town, a town that cares about its citizens and its

soldiers in faraway places,” he said.

Mayor Frank Quintero, who served 13 months as a U.S. Marine in

Vietnam, recalled his childhood visits on Memorial Day to the local

American Legion post and the pictures of veterans that decorated the

walls.

“As a young kid, I always thought of them as grown men,” he said.

“Later on, after serving in Vietnam, I realize those weren’t grown

men, those were really kids ... so when I think of my friends and my

marine platoon that lost their lives, I always think of them being

forever young because they will always be 19-year-olds and 20-year-olds who never had a chance to grow up.”

Cindy Cline-Fulton shared the rescue stories of her son, Lance

Cpl. Donald Cline, who was killed during a battle in May in

Nasiriyah, Iraq. A mortar hit the vehicle he was in while he tried to

carry 18 dead and wounded to safety. The former Crescenta Valley High

School student was 21.

“I never knew my son was so brave until I heard these stories,”

she said. “He was so unselfish; he just wanted to save everyone’s

life, and I thank the city of Glendale for just remembering him and

keeping his spirit alive.”


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