As veterans across the nation were being honored for their service to this country Tuesday, several Veterans Day events were scheduled to be held in Southern California. They involved everything from a parade to special tours of historic battleships.
In Covina, throngs of Veterans Day observers gathered at Sierra Vista Middle School, where 2,000 flags have been placed for the third annual Field of Valor.
The event, hosted by The Covina Rotary Club, is a way of saying “thank you” to those who have served, and continue to serve, in America’s armed forces.
Wayne Partee of the Covina Rotary Club described an emotional moment from the first event two years ago.
“There was a time in the first year I walked in the field, found a veteran, a Vietnam veteran, with tears in his eyes," Partee said. "He said to me – and of course I started crying as he talked – ‘I never felt honored. They spit on us, cursed us. This is the first time I felt like somebody had done something to honor our veterans.'”
It also serves as an opportunity to educate people, as many of the flags had inscriptions with the names and stories of veterans who have served the U.S.
Kristi Pogue was one among those who visited the middle school with her children and paused at the flags to read the stories.
She said she wanted them to appreciate the importance of the day.
“I want them to know what their grandfather, their great grandfathers did for our country," Pogue said. "And just how important everything we have right now is… we’re lucky to have this, and I want them to realize it, and not be a little spoiled in the country we live in, but appreciate every ounce of freedom that we have.”
Greg Galvan, a Covina resident who walked through the Field of Valor, said it gave him "chills."
"It's just a great tribute," Galvan explained, adding, "You don’t see this as much, but you need to see more of it.”
Another event, the annual San Fernando Valley Veterans Day Parade, was scheduled to begin at 11:11 a.m. in Mission Hills. First held in 2004, the parade features marching bands, more than 100 veterans groups and a military flyover.
In San Pedro, a ceremony aboard the World War II-era Battleship Iowa in San Pedro would feature a presentation of colors and speeches. After the ceremony, active duty or retired military personnel would be offered tours free of charge.
In addition to those events, a number of restaurants and retailers were offering veterans and active duty military discounts and freebies on merchandise, food, goods and services. Click here for a full list of participating businesses.