The coronavirus pandemic prompted the shift of several Veterans Day observances in Los Angeles County online Wednesday, including a celebration at Forest Lawn-Hollywood Hills, the San Fernando Valley Veterans Day Parade and a concert at the Battleship Iowa.
The 61st annual Veterans Day Celebration at Forest Lawn-Hollywood Hills was streamed at Facebook.com/ForestLawn beginning at 11 a.m.
The celebration honored members of the U.S. military with a flyover of planes used in World War II training missions by The Condor Squadron, and musical performances by the Band of the California Battalion in Civil War uniforms.
The keynote speech was delivered by Stephanie Stone, Los Angeles County’s director of veterans affairs.
A virtual version of the San Fernando Valley Veterans Day Parade was streamed on its website, sfvveteransdayparade.com, also beginning at 11 a.m. The virtual parade can be seen by clicking on the virtual parade link.
The grand marshal was Jose Razo, administrator of operations of the Los Angeles Unified School District’s Local District Northeast. Razo served in the Marine Corps from 1992-98.
The Battleship Iowa Museum and Veterans National Entertainment Workshop will observe “Veterans Day with Veterans Day West 2020,” an online concert with the theme of “United We Stand — Stronger Together!”
The concert will feature U.S. military veteran performers from around the nation singing popular songs of unity, togetherness and friendship. The concert will also feature a performance by opera singer Renee Fleming, and salutes to veterans from impressionist Rich Little and other celebrities.
The concert will be streamed beginning at 7:30 p.m. on the battleship’s website, pacificbattleship.com; Facebook page, facebook.com/pacificbattleship; the Veterans National Entertainment Workshop website, vnew.org, and Facebook page, facebook.com/VeteransNationalEntertainmentWorkshop.
The museum will also debut its virtual tour Veterans Day on its website.
Palmdale conducted a Veterans Day ceremony at 11 a.m. at Pelona Vista Park. The ceremony included the singing of the armed forces medley and a fly-over by the 416th Flight Test Squadron.
The featured speaker was U.S. Air Force Col. Jay Orson, command of the 412th Electronic Warfare Group.
COVID-19 protocols were in effect, including face coverings and social distancing.
The Los Angeles LGBT Center marked Veterans Day with an online screening of the 21-minute documentary on LGBTQ veterans before, during and after their military service, “Our Service, Our Stories: The Evolution of the LGBT Military Experience.”
Veterans featured in the documentary served between 1951 and 2017 in the Korean, Vietnam and Persian Gulf wars and Afghanistan, Iraq and current outposts.
“Our Service, Our Stories: The Evolution of the LGBT Military Experience” was streamed at lalgbtcenter.org/watch beginning at 11 a.m. Following Veterans Day it can be viewed on the center’s YouTube channel, youtube.com/lalgbtcenter.
From dusk to midnight Wednesday, Pacific Park on the Santa Monica Pier will mark Veterans Day by displaying a 130-foot American flag and the five seals of the armed services branches on its Ferris wheel.
Veterans Day has its roots in a proclamation issued by President Woodrow Wilson in November 1919, a year after World War I ended, designating Nov. 11 as Armistice Day. States soon started declaring Nov. 11 a legal holiday. Congress made it a federal holiday in 1938, dedicated to the cause of world peace.
In 1954, following World War II and the Korean War, Congress, at the urging of veterans service organizations, passed a law renaming Armistice Day Veterans Day. From 1971-1977, Veterans Day was held in late October. A 1975 law returned it to Nov. 11, beginning in 1978.
“America’s veterans have fought to defend our country, its values and its interests since the first days of our founding,” President Donald Trump said in his Veterans Day proclamation. “They have defeated tyrants, eliminated terrorists and secured freedom at home and abroad.
“Their courage and fortitude in the face of adversity serve as an example for all Americans. On Veterans Day, we pause to pay tribute to all who have proudly worn our nation’s uniform.
“These soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines and Coast Guardsmen selflessly placed lives, well-being and security of others before their own. We enjoy the privileges of peace, prosperity and freedom because of our veterans and we are forever indebted to them beyond measure.”
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