Two days of Veterans Day observances in Los Angeles County will begin Saturday with the inaugural Veterans Appreciation Festival in front of the USS Iowa battleship museum at the Port of Los Angeles, the 16th annual Veterans Day Parade and Vets Fest in Long Beach, and the dedication of Hawaiian Gardens' Veterans Memorial Plaza.
The Veterans Appreciation Festival will be held from 1-4 p.m. and feature free food, resource booths for veterans, live music by The Swing of Things, Rock for Vets and The Riptides bands, and a children's play zone.
"The event will be an unprecedented celebration with plenty of activities for the entire family as well as an opportunity to see and experience our beautiful and revitalized L.A. Waterfront," said Councilman Joe Buscaino, whose 15th District includes the port.
The 16th annual Long Beach Veterans Day Parade will begin at 10 a.m. It will be held on Atlantic Avenue, from Harding Street to 56th Street. The grand marshal will be Thomas M. Murphy, a 1967 graduate of Lakewood High School who was an Army helicopter pilot in the Vietnam and Iraq wars.
Vets Fest 2012 will follow at Houghton Park from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. with gourmet food trucks, prize drawings and music played by the Jordan High School Jazz Band and Drumline, the Long Beach Community Band and the DAT EZ Band.
The dedication of Hawaiian Gardens' Veterans Memorial Plaza will begin at 10 a.m. at City Hall at 21815 Pioneer Blvd.
The approximately 4,500-square foot plaza near the main entrance to City Hall will feature a granite stone memorial consisting of five wedges to form a star pattern, each representing a branch of the military. It will also include an inspiration stone wall highlighting etched special messages and quotes, and six flagpoles representing the five branches of the military plus the nation's prisoners of war.
"The new Veterans Memorial Plaza at City Hall has been a long-awaited dream of many in our community and it will be a landmark site the entire city can be proud of for generations to come," Mayor Mike Gomez said.
On Sunday, Forest Lawn Memorial Park-Hollywood Hills will begin its 53rd annual Veterans Day program at 11 a.m. It will include an aerial performance by the Golden Stars Skydiving Team, performances by soloist Victoria Gordon, patriotic music played by the Band of the California Battalion, and Los Angeles County Supervisor Mike Antonovich reading a presidential proclamation.
Capt. Justin L. Babcock, company commander of the U.S. Army Recruiting Company, will be the keynote speaker. Michael Johnson, president of the Montford Point Marines Association, will be the military guest speaker.
The ninth annual San Fernando Valley Veterans Day Parade in Pacoima, will begin at 11:11 a.m. Sunday in a nod to World War I ending on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month in 1918. The parade will begin at the corner of Laurel Canyon and San Fernando Mission boulevards and end 1.1 miles away at Ritchie Valens Park at Laurel Canyon and Paxton Street.
El Monte will observe Veterans Day Sunday with the groundbreaking of a $12 million, three-story, 40-unit comprehensive apartment development for veterans, described by city officials as the first of its kind in the San Gabriel Valley.
The El Monte Veterans Apartments at 11254 Ramona Blvd. will have health and wellness programs, job training, family reunification and legal services on site.
The 9 a.m. ceremony will also include a flyover by the Condor Squadron and a color guard presentation.
West Hollywood will hold its annual Veterans Day Ceremony at 11 a.m. Sunday at the Sal Guarriello Veterans Memorial at the intersection of Holloway Drive and Santa Monica Boulevard. The event will be held at West Hollywood City Hall in case of rain.
Rep. Adam Schiff; Dave Culmer, chairman of the National Veterans Foundation and Service Director for the American Legion in Los Angeles County; and Andrew "Andy" Harland, director of Vietnam Veterans in the Media, will speak.
Redondo Beach will hold its Veterans Day observance at Veterans Park beginning at 1 p.m. Sunday. Scheduled to speak are Los Angeles County Supervisor Don Knabe, Sen. Ted Lieu, Mayor Mike Gin and Rachael Bogert, the daughter of the late Daily Breeze columnist John Bogert, a supporter of the new Redondo Beach Veterans Memorial.
A barbecue picnic organized by the Redondo Elks will follow.