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Paying tribute to the troops

Darleene Barrientos

With thousands of American soldiers serving in Iraq, hundreds of

veterans were honored Tuesday for their service to their country.

Several dignitaries, including Gov. Gray Davis, Rep. Hilda Solis


(D-El Monte) and Los Angeles County Supervisor Michael D. Antonovich

were present to give homage to the thousands of soldiers and veterans

who fought for America’s freedoms during the 44th annual Veterans Day

Celebration at Forest Lawn Hollywood Hills.


Burbank resident Don Young, 72, thought Tuesday’s celebration was

larger than in previous years.

“It seems the public wants to know more, especially after what’s

happening in Iraq,” Young said. “And this was the place to find out.”

Army veteran Richard Cannon, 76, of Burbank, was pleased with the


“It made us feel good, because we know who the real heroes are,”

Cannon said. “They didn’t come back.”


Richard Davis, 76, of Glendale, was disappointed in the lack of

Veterans Day ceremonies held in his city. Davis is a veteran of the

Navy and the Army.

“Since I’ve lived in California, I’ve never missed one of these,”

he said, referring to the ceremony at Forest Lawn.

The celebration was kicked off by the Aztec Skydiving Team, which

had five of its members jump out of a plane, carrying American flags

and the flag to honor prisoners of war and soldiers missing in



Other presentations included the posting of the colors by the 2nd

Battalion, 23rd Marine Regiment, and a rifle salute by seven members

of the L.A. County Sheriff’s Department.

The Crescenta Valley High School Junior ROTC assisted with the

presentation of colors and the placement of the large memorial


JROTC members Soo Hyun Kim, 15, and Jisun Lee, 16, carried the

wreath to the stage.

“I think it was honorable, that I got a chance to be a part of

this day,” Soo Hyun said.

The ceremony was largely a tribute to soldiers who served with

special operations units. Keynote speaker Command Sgt. Maj. Eric L.

Haney spoke about several men who served in such units.

“Give thanks that we have men such as these ... so that we may

live a life without fear,” he said.