Monday, November 4, 2013

Around Town: A chance to say thanks to our veterans

This year's annual Veterans Day celebration has moved to a new location. The ceremony will be held in front of Pasadena City Hall, at Centennial Plaza, on Monday, Nov. 11, from 10 to 11:11 a.m.

My husband Len and I are on the committee, along with Navy vet John Watkins, PCC Vets Coordinator Patricia D'Orange Martin, and former Pasadena mayors Bill Paparian and Bill Thomson.

Last month, we met on the campus of Pasadena Community College. If you haven't had a chance to visit PCC lately, a visit now will show you that the school has really changed. There are currently more than 26,000 students, with many international students. The facilities are impressive, and PCC ranks No. 1 in the state (and seventh nationally) as a veteran-friendly campus.

We were amazed to see how PCC has grown and how effective its programs are. The school has one of the state's highest transfer rates to four-year colleges.

The theme of this year's Veterans Day celebration is “honoring our youngest vets.”

The event will focus on those who have served during the long wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. By 2015, there will be more than two million young civilians who are veterans of these long wars. It is estimated that a million of them will be enrolled in college by 2015.

All over the country, Veterans (and Memorial) Day events are being transformed, reimagined and revitalized as our youngest veterans come home to civilian life. The Pasadena Veterans Day event is no exception. For example, there is now a Twitter account — @PasVetsDay2013, a Facebook page, “Pasadena Veterans Day, 2013,” and a blog,

La Cañada doesn't have a Veterans Day celebration. We have a Memorial Day service in Memorial Park, instituted by Don Hingst and now run by my colleague, Joe Puglia.

Not a problem — there's always Pasadena.

PCC is a La Cañada community resource. Lots of local kids attend PCC. The Pasadena Community College District spans Pasadena, South Pasadena, Altadena, San Marino, Temple City, La Cañada Flintridge, Arcadia, El Sereno, Sierra Madre, and parts of Rosemead and El Monte.

This year's speakers include several veterans: PCC professor Harold Martin, Rabbi Gil Kollin and Sheriff Lee Baca. The PCC Pep band will play. There will be cake, and the event will conclude with a fly-by.

Veterans Day is a chance to say thank you to our youngest veterans, to bring your children to a community celebration, and to visit Pasadena's historic City Hall. Hope to see you there.

Valley Sun

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