BANNER DAY FOR HOSPITAL.
Rep. Howard ``Buck'' McKeon returned on Presidents Day to the hospital where he served as a board member to hoist a flag that once flew over the U.S. Capitol.
The flag was given as a gift to Henry Mayo Newhall Memorial Hospital during a ceremony Monday for Presidents Day and to honor the veterans involved in the hospital's Adult Day Health Care program.
McKeon presented the flag in a ceremony that included audience sing-alongs of ``The Star-Spangled Banner'' and patriotic readings. Seated in the front row, Army veteran and Valencia resident John Birchall brought a handkerchief to his face as ``You're a Grand Old Flag'' played from a small stereo on the hospital's lawn.
``America has already succeeded where so many other historic attempts at freedom have failed. Already, we've made this cherished land the last best hope of mankind. It's up to us, in our generation, to carry on this hallowed task,'' McKeon said, quoting former President Reagan in his speech.
The flag was raised by a hospital security guard, with McKeon helping to give the final tug to pull the rope taught.
``Congressman McKeon has brought it here to share with us. And we will fly it on special occasions at the hospital,'' said Duffy Watson, president of the Santa Clarita Health Care Association.
Ottis Wiggs, a Newhall resident, was one of the participants in the health care program who also took part in the ceremony. He read a short profile of President Lincoln.
Linda Alexander-Lieblang, Adult Day Health Care program director, said about 40 people are enrolled in the hospital's 9-year-old program. It offers a therapeutic environment for people recovering from strokes, Parkinson's disease, multiple sclerosis, arthritis and other ailments, she said. Many of the participants come primarily for the activities.
``Some of them have been here since the beginning,'' Alexander-Lieblang said.
Photo: (1--Color) Presidents Day at Henry Mayo Newhall Memorial Hospital included Rep. Howard ``Buck'' McKeon unfurling a flag used at the U.S. Capitol.
(2--SAC edition only--Color) Abe Munoz looks at the flag while singing the national anthem.
(3--SAC edition only--Color) Rehabilitation technician Tammy Asbrand warms Juana Blanco.
John Lazar/Special to the Daily News