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A military salute

first_img AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MORE11 theater productions to see in Southern California this week, Dec. 27-Jan. 2The tribute featured flyovers by the World War II-vintage “Condor Squadron” and an F-16 from Edwards Air Force Base, patriotic songs and rifle salutes. A corner of the park became a makeshift memorial of wreaths and crosses, where the local Vietnam Veterans of America chapter offered a helmet that saw action in Fallujah, Iraq, in November 2004. On the weathered helmet are the names of 13 Marines from Bravo Company, 1st Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment based at Camp Lejeune, N.C., who died in the fighting. “We go when we’re needed,” said Ernie Ricardo, 61, of Lancaster, who served 19 months in Vietnam as a military adviser. “It’s not whether we agree or disagree with the politics. “It’s like this helmet. These guys died because they believe in something. They’re all different. But they had to do it. What they have in common is their sense of responsibility.” NEWHALL – It’s been more than a half-century since Tony Marincola saw action, but this World War II veteran – decked out in his 17th Airborne uniform – can still turn ladies’ heads. “I just wanted you to know, you look good in that uniform,” a woman in a Stars and Stripes sweat shirt told the 89-year-old from Canyon Country on Monday at the 2006 Memorial Day Tribute. Marincola, who served in Europe between 1943-45, said he wouldn’t miss the solemn pageant of fluttering colors and noble brass notes at the Eternal Valley Memorial Park and Mortuary – a chance to honor those who fought on behalf of America. “I remember all my buddies that were killed and left behind there in the Battle of the Bulge,” he said. “We were real close.” Rep. Howard P. “Buck” McKeon reflected on the day’s meaning. “We are privileged to live in one of the loveliest countries,” McKeon, R-Santa Clarita, said. “The (United) States is lovely because of what we see here today … the American people. A people that live and sometimes die for something greater than themselves.” McKeon, who is running for an eight term in the 25th Congressional District, also took time to rally a home front that appeared increasingly divided by the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. “We are at war with a fearsome enemy … our enemy will show us no quarter,” he said. “Bit by bit, we will face down the enemy.” Yet it was Dennis Weber of the Disabled American Veterans who struck deep. He described war as a “grim reality” that’s “bloody, brutal and painful,” and urged the audience to tend to returning veterans rather than “pay lip service.” “Some of our leaders don’t want us to face the cost of war,” Weber said. “Long after Iraq and Afghanistan are written in history books, the wheelchairs will still be rolling.” Ron Zepke, 51, of Northridge served in the Navy during the Vietnam War knew first hand what Weber meant. “Sometimes you don’t realize how things can bother you for so many years,” he said. “Your emotions boil over, and it stays with you forever.” Asked why he served three years in the Air Force in the mid-1950s, Bob Fenter, 68, of Newhall answered: “We are our brothers’ keeper.” “Taps” signaled the ceremony’s end. The first notes from the buglers started on different tracks. The sounds clashed and overlapped, until they joined as one in a soulful, final harmony. [email protected] (661)257-5253160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img read more

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