Due to rain expected to sweep through Laguna this Saturday, March 2, the 53rd annual Laguna Beach Patriot’s Day Parade has been canceled, city officials announced Thursday.
The city issued a statement about the cancellation Thursday afternoon citing “expected inclement weather and associated safety concerns.” The National Weather Service is forecasting a 90 percent chance of rain in Laguna on Saturday, with wind gusts as high as 20 mph.
“This year’s parade will not be re-scheduled,” city officials said. “We look forward to the 2020 Patriot’s Day Parade.”
Despite the cancellation of the parade, it’s worth noting the residents who were to be honored this year as “Everyday Heroes” (the parade’s 2019 theme).
Local journalist Barbara Diamond was named parade grand marshal. Diamond has written about Laguna Beach for close to four decades and currently reports for StuNews.
The 2019 honored citizen was Sande St. John, a tireless local volunteer who helped create the Susi Q center and has contributed her time and efforts to numerous organizations in town, including but not limited to: No Square Theatre, the Women’s Club Resource Center, the Laguna Beach Film Society and the Laguna Beach Relief and Resource Center.
Musician Roxanna Ward, the parade’s artist of the year, has shared her talents with No Square Theatre, Laguna Playhouse’s youth theater, the Laguna Beach Unified School District’s performing arts program, and the Orange County School of the Arts.
The title of athlete of the year went to 16-year-old Jade Howson, a junior at Laguna Beach High School. Last November, Howson, a standup paddleboarding champion, took home a gold medal and the junior world title at the World SUP and Paddleboard Championship held at Wanning on China’s Hainan Island.
Junior citizens of the year, Cal Nielsen and Alexis Yang, were chosen by the faculty and staff of Laguna Beach High School on the basis of their achievements in scholarship, leadership, athletics, and community service. They are members of the Class of 2019. Nielsen will attend Brigham Young University to study chemical engineering, and Yang will attend Massachusetts Institute of Technology to study computer science and engineering and row for the crew team.
The 2019 Laguna Beach Parade Essayist of the Year was Cleo Washer, of Laura Silver’s eighth grade language arts class. Washer was awarded $100 for winning the contest, which was sponsored by Union Bank in Laguna Beach.
The 2019 parade cover artist was Diego Lapayese-Calderon.
This year’s honored patriot was Korean War veteran Sgt. Arnold “Arnie” Silverman of the U.S. Army. According to parade organizers, the honor is awarded to those who have “served the nation gallantly or meritoriously in time of war or national emergency.”
Silverman was drafted into the Army in 1951 after graduating from Rutgers University. He received a specialist assignment with the Counter Intelligence Corps at Fort Holabird near Baltimore, and then went overseas to Tokyo, Japan. In December 1951, as Chinese and North Korean forces attacked American lines in an area known as the Iron Triangle, Silverman was ordered to the 35th Regiment of the 25th Infantry Division as a forward observer for 81-millimeter mortars and recoilless rifles.
After seven months of combat on the line, Arnie was awarded the Combat Infantry Badge and transferred to an island named Koje-do to guard prisoners of war and restore security to their overcrowded camp. Now a sergeant, he returned to combat a few months later northwest of Chorwon, just west of the Iron Triangle, as the warring sides attempted to work out a truce. He returned home in March 1953.
Since retiring at age 70, Arnie has been active in veterans’ affairs, such as the American Legion and Veterans of Foreign Wars, including service as post commander and assisting the Wounded Warriors Battalion at Camp Pendleton. He has also mentored at the Orange County Combat Veterans Court in Santa Ana and reads to kids in elementary school.
“Arnie Silverman is a living example of an everyday hero, and we are most proud to honor him this year,” parade organizers said.
2019 Essay Contest Winner
By Cleo Washer
What is an everyday hero? What does that mean? We tend to think heroes save lives, run into burning buildings, or fight bad guys. However, we should look at the heroes we don’t acknowledge so much—the everyday heroes.
“An everyday hero can be anyone. A person who selflessly intervenes in a situation small or big is a hero.” So who are everyday heroes? Well, it can be you, me or anyone you know. Teachers are everyday heroes because they come teach their students every week and expand their knowledge on important topics. Your family is made up of everyday heroes because they take care of you, love you, and support you. Nurses, doctors, the police, and fire department are all heroes because they help you stay healthy and survive.
But it’s not just them. A neighbor who smiles at you every day when you walk out the door might be a hero to you because they make you feel happy to start a new day. Employees who work for shops, grocery stores, and restaurants can be everyday heroes because they show up and help make sure you get great service. What I’m trying to tell you is that everyone is an everyday hero because everyone does something that makes someone feel good. That’s what it means to be an everyday hero. So many people inspire me to do great things because of how hard they work. It doesn’t have to be a glamorous job or even one that requires great skill. Just quietly helping others is enough to make you an everyday hero even though people might not be aware of it.
If you’re making a positive impact on something or someone you are an everyday hero and while this may not be the kind of hero that earns medals or fame, it is something we can all try to achieve.