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Veterans gather to remember

Restored World War II aircraft are featured in a ceremony honoring area troops who have served.

November 14, 2007|By Jeremy Oberstein

BURBANK — Interwoven tales of heroism, loss and respect unfolded Monday as Burbank honored its veterans during a ceremony in McCambridge Park.

“People tend to forget what a veteran is,” said Ralph Walker, a Marine who served in the Vietnam War. “One in four homeless people in Downtown [Los Angeles] are veterans, and we forget about them. Today, we try to let them know they are not forgotten.”

The ceremony included a flyover of restored World War II aircraft flown by a group called the Condor Squadron, speeches by elected officials and the swapping of tales from veterans who crowded the park on a day many had off from work and school.

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Mayor Marsha Ramos reflected on Veterans Day with a story of her recent travels.

“I recently came back from Incheon, Korea, and was reminded, before I left, that I would be the second Ramos to visit Korea,” she said.

Ramos, whose husband’s father served in the Korean War, visited Incheon as part of Burbank’s Sister City Program.

“I visited two Korean War memorials,” she said. “[The Koreans] understand that were it not for U.N. and American troops, they would not be free.”

Rep. Adam Schiff, whose district covers Burbank, spoke about a different type of war veteran in front of former and future troops from World War II, Vietnam, Korea and others.

“Today we also honor war correspondents, whose graves lie side by side with soldiers who died in battle,” he said. “They not only inform us about what’s going on, but what it’s like to be there. They open a window to war.”

Schiff focused on Ernie Pyle, a journalist whose World War II writings painted a picture of ordinary people doing extraordinary things.

“While others reported about the generals and strategy of war, Ernie Pyle wrote about the grunts,” he said.

“He wrote about what it was like for them to be lonely, to be wet, to be cold.”

Pyle died in 1945 at the hands of a sniper off the coast of mainland Japan.

Near Schiff stood Michael McDaniel, a member of the Veterans Commemorative Committee whose booth showcased fallen troops’ uniforms and medals from past wars.

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