Canoga Park Honors Fallen Soldiers in Annual Memorial Day Parade

Canoga Park Honors Fallen Soldiers in Annual Memorial Day Parade

Hundreds arrived at Canoga Park to honor fallen soldiers at the annual Memorial Day Parade.

Excitement, tinged with bittersweet emotion, was part of the experience for parade-goers and participants at the 31st Canoga Park Memorial Day Parade, which returned to Sherman Way for the first time in three years.

This year’s parade, with the theme “Saluting the Price of Freedom,” included Sun Valley’s North Valley Military Institute Color Guard, bands from Canoga Park and Taft Charter high schools, Blue Knights International Law Enforcement Motorcycle Club, Boys and Girls Club of the West Valley and the Naval Mobile Construction Battalion 3 based in Port Hueneme.

Special elder guest veterans riding in the parade included:

  • Ethel Margolin, 101, United States Army WAC, WWII 8th AF ATC 1944;
  • Barney Leone, 97, United States Navy, WWII Iwo Jima, Okinawa, China and Philippines;
  • Joe Weber, 94, United States Navy 1944-46, AMM 3C, FE PBM; NAS Corpus Christi, San Diego
  • Bill Bird, 92, United States Army, 6th Army, Special Services, 1952-1954 and
  • Leon Martinez, 91, United States Air Force, 18th Supply Squadron, Far East, 1952-1954, Okinawa, Japan and Taiwan.

Elected officials who joined in the parade included Los Angeles City Councilmember Bob Blumenfield, Assemblymember Jesse Gabriel, Los Angeles Police Chief Michel Moore, Los Angeles Unified School District Board Member Scott Schmerelson, and Congressman Brad Sherman.

A flyover was staged by the 146th Airlift Wing – C-130J, a unit of the California Air National Guard, stationed in Oxnard, and an appearance by members of the Naval Mobile Construction Battalion Three, better known as the Seabees, the specialized military construction unit created during World War II to support military operations. The unit has built airfields, schools, and hospitals and repaired infrastructure.

“The Canoga Park Memorial Day Parade reminds us how important it is to come together as a community and show respect for those who sacrificed their lives for our freedom,” said Miri Rossitto, founder and CEO of Cowe Communications. “It’s a powerful event that brings neighbors closer, honors our fallen heroes, and underscores that freedom has a price — one that should always be remembered.”

The ceremony included a wreath laying at the Wall of Honor in memory of U.S. Air Force 1st Lt. Arthur “Skip” Bedal, a navigator aboard a B-26B Invader bomber killed with the other two crewmen when it slammed into a mountain during a support mission for South Vietnamese troops against the Viet Cong on Aug. 16, 1963.

The crash occurred in the guerrilla-infested jungle of Quang Ngai province in central Vietnam, near the South China Sea. The crash was later attributed to mechanical failure.

Bedal’s daughter Sheryl-Jo Bedal was the parade’s Vietnam War honoree. She was 20 months old when her father was killed.

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