Rows of tombstones at Los Angeles National Cemetery near Westwood. Photo by John Schreiber.
Rows of tombstones at Los Angeles National Cemetery near Westwood. Photo by John Schreiber.

Hundreds of people lined the streets of Mission Hills Wednesday for the 12th annual San Fernando Valley Veterans Day Parade, which was one of dozens of events held across the Southland in recognition of those who served in the military.

Fans waved flags and cheered as veterans made their way in floats along Laurel Canyon Boulevard. The parade made its way through Mission Hills and ended at Richie Valens Park, where a carnival was held in honor of veterans.

The parade began at 11:11 a.m., which was a nod to World War I ending on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918.

Meanwhile, Forest Lawn Memorial Park-Hollywood Hills held its 56th annual Veterans Day program, featuring an aerial performance by the Golden Stars Skydiving Team, patriotic music and military displays. The event also featured a job fair for veterans.

A Veterans Resource Fair was held at Veterans Memorial Park in Commerce as part of that city’s Veterans Day ceremony. The fair included health screenings provided by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, free flu shots from Walgreens and information on educational opportunities and financial aid resources from Rio Hondo College.

Veterans Day ceremonies were also held in Boyle Heights, Duarte, El Sereno, Palmdale, Pasadena, Pico Rivera and West Hollywood.

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 starting 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 as Veterans Day. From 1971-1977, Veterans Day was held in late October. A 1975 law returned it to Nov. 11, beginning in 1978.

In his Veterans Day proclamation, President Barack Obama said, “Our veterans left everything they knew and loved and served with exemplary dedication and courage so we could all know a safer America and a more just world. They have been tested in ways that rest of us may never fully understand and it is our duty to fulfill our sacred obligation to our veterans and their families.

“On Veterans Day, and every day, let us show them the extraordinary gratitude they so rightly deserve and let us recommit to pledging our full support for them in all they do.”

—City News Service

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