Veterans Day observances throughout L.A. County

Veterans Day will be marked in Los Angeles County today by a parade in the northeast San Fernando Valley and events at Forest Lawn Memorial Park-Hollywood Hills and in Commerce designed to improve the financial and physical health of men and women who served in the armed forces of the United States.

The 12th annual San Fernando Valley Veterans Day Parade will begin at 11:11 a.m. at the corner of Laurel Canyon and San Fernando Mission boulevards in Mission Hills and proceed south on Laurel Canyon Boulevard 1.1 miles to the Richie Valens Park, where a carnival will be held.

The starting time is a nod to World War I ending on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month in 1918.

Forest Lawn Memorial Park-Hollywood Hills will begin its 56th annual Veterans Day program at 11 a.m. It will include an aerial performance by the Golden Stars Skydiving Team, patriotic music and military displays. A job fair for veterans will begin at noon.

A Veterans Resource Fair will be held at Veterans Memorial Park in Commerce in connection with the city's Veterans Day ceremony. The fair will include health screenings provided by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, free flu shots from Walgreens and information on educational opportunities and financial aid resources from Rio Hondo College.

Veterans Day ceremonies are also planned for Boyle Heights, Duarte, El Sereno, Palmdale, Pasadena, Pico Rivera and West Hollywood.

Veterans Day has its roots in a proclamation issued by President Woodrow Wilson in November 1919, a year after World War I ended, designating Nov. 11 as Armistice Day.

States soon starting declaring Nov. 11 a legal holiday. Congress made it a federal holiday in 1938, dedicated to the cause of world peace.

In 1954, following World War II and the Korean War, Congress, at the urging of veterans service organizations, passed a law renaming Armistice Day as Veterans Day. From 1971-1977, Veterans Day was held in late October. A 1975 law returned it to Nov. 11, beginning in 1978.

In his Veterans Day proclamation, President Barack Obama said, "Our veterans left everything they knew and loved and served with exemplary dedication and courage so we could all know a safer America and a more just
world. They have been tested in ways that rest of us may never fully understand and it is our duty to fulfill our sacred obligation to our veterans and their families.

"On Veterans Day, and every day, let us show them the extraordinary gratitude they so rightly deserve and let us recommit to pledging our full support for them in all they do."