With five veterans sitting on the stage, it was as though there could never be enough time to share all their stories this year at the 20th Annual Malibu Veterans Day ceremony.

The Malibu City Hall Civic Theater was packed on Monday, Nov. 11, for Veterans Day. As the crowd began clapping and singing along with Arthur White and the L.A. Swing Dance Posse, the ceremony began. This year’s theme was “Honoring Heroes & Legends of WWII.”

Retired Naval Captain and current Malibu Navy League President John Payne hosted the event and introduced the veterans and performers for the afternoon.

“We call it the Greatest Generation, the people who went to World War Two, the most devastating war of all,” Payne said. “Three percent of the world perished in the war. If we don’t do community events like this, the kids who do the pledge of allegiance never have a clue. So, what we do is get children together so they can get an exposure of what happened and how it happened and the people from that generation.”

Veterans Day

The Star Spangled Banner was sung by Destiny Malibu and a prayer was shared from Pepperdine University’s eighth president, James Gash.

“We have the unending satisfaction knowing that you have put your life on the line, to have true courage the willingness to sacrifice your life, dreams and future,” Gash said. “Lord, I thank you for the men and women we remember today who daily live out this exhortation to lead lives of honor and service to others in service to this country.”

The first veteran speaker was Ethel Margolin, 97, who served as a private, first class, in the Women’s Army Corps (WACS) in 1939. Margolin said she was one of five with the highest IQ in her class. 

Veterans Day

US Air Force Lieutenant Colonel Richard Kinder spoke the longest and shared his life story on how he met his wife on his 22nd birthday. 

“When I saw her, I said, ‘I’m going to marry that girl someday,’ and I managed that and kept her for 70 years,” Kinder said.

An original poem was read by former Malibu Poet Laureate Ricardo Means Ybarra, called, “Marilyn Monroe in Korea.”

“The sight of platinum hair, lips the color of her dress, smile from the back of a flatbed truck, the American smile for each one of us,” Ybarra recited.

L.A. Swing Dance Posse CEO Arthur White, whose dancers performed at the start of the event, thought the ceremony and the crowd were great.

“Being a veteran, I feel honored to be a part of the Malibu 20th Anniversary [Veteran’s Day] Celebration; the crowd was excellent, very supportive—it’s the kind of crowd veterans love to be in front of and you can see the love and admiration when they walk out,” White said. “For some of us, it is celebrated every single day, it’s the fact that we woke up and we’re still here.”

The Our Lady of Malibu School Choir performed, as well as Malibu Middle and High School students. 

Veterans Day

Students sing at the annual Veterans Day ceremony at City Hall.

“Amazing Grace” was sung by Eliza Byrnes and “God Bless America” was sung by Yolanda Tolentino. Kathy Bee closed the ceremony with “America The Beautiful” while Cub Scout Pack 119 passed roses and flags to the audience.

The ceremony was presented by The City of Malibu, Pepperdine University, HRL Laboratories and Malibu Navy League.

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