Remembering the ones who served the U.S.

Three years ago, 20-year Glendale resident and mother Alice Hamrajbian watched as her daughter left for South Carolina to join the U.S. Air Force. Wanting a way to support her daughter and the armed forces, she joined the Commerce Citizenship and Patriotism Committee, and was named this year’s chairwoman of Glendale’s annual Memorial Day event.

“It is not just my daughter that I want to honor, it is all the service men and women, who I feel are all my sons and daughters,” Hamrajbian said. “The celebration is a way to call attention to their heroism and courage.”

The event will kick off at 9:30 a.m. at Glendale Montrose Crescenta Valley Veterans Memorial with a welcome from Councilman Ara Najarian and a speech from United States Marine Corps Col. James McGinley.

McGinley, a Glendale resident, was commanding officer of the first Marine helicopter squadron of Operation Enduring Freedom after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.

Former Glendale Mayor Larry Zarian, who helped start the event 11 years ago, will be the master of ceremonies.

“The ceremony is a place that people can gather once a year to pay our respect to the heroes responsible for all the things that we enjoy, such as freedom of speech,” Zarian said.

Glendale’s commemoration is one of several events in the area celebrating America’s troops.

Vietnam veteran Mickey DePalo, chair of the Burbank Veterans Commemorative Committee, will lead the reading of names of fallen Burbank veterans at the McCambridge Park War Memorial.

A flyover by the Condor Squadron, a group of six World War II planes, will open the 11 a.m. service, which includes a rededication of 92 troops who attended Burbank High School.

“Monday is a day when we should stop to pause and think about all the soldiers that have died for our country,” DePalo said.

For Crescenta Valley Town Council alternate Charles Beatty, seeing six of his friends lose their lives during Vietnam inspired him to organize a tribute at Vietnam War Memorial in the Montrose Shopping Park two years ago.

This year, he is hosting several city and state officials, such as Assemblyman Anthony Adams and state Sen. Jack Scott.

“It is a way to bring back the veterans a little and to celebrate their wonderful and sad contribution to American life,” Beatty said.

Yet another way to celebrate Memorial Day is by lacing those tennis shoes to take part in the Crescenta-Cañada YMCA’s 33rd annual Fiesta Days Run.

Nearly 1,000 walkers and runners are expected to meet at 7:30 a.m. at the Descanso Gardens in La Cañada Flintridge, where participants can either compete in a 10K or 5K walk or run.

The activity raises funds for financial assistance and scholarship programs for children.

“It’s a great event for people in the area to get together and honor the community,” organizer Rosanne Malogolowkin said.


 ALISON TULLY covers City Hall and public safety in Burbank. She may be reached at (818) 637-3242 or by e-mail at alison.tully@latimes.com.

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