Without veterans, freedom would have died long ago, a Calabasas Marine reservist said Sunday as part of a special Veterans Day ceremony in Malibu.
"I served and I'm a veteran," U.S. Marine Sgt. Sean Wax said at the event in Legacy Park. "I want to say: I thank you guys."
He asked citizens to take time to thank military members in the community.
"Without our veterans, freedom would have died a long time ago," said Wax, an active duty reservist who also serves in the L.A. County Sheriff's Department in South Los Angeles. He was deployed as part of Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2008-09.
A fly over by the Black Eagles squadron started off the special event during a moving rendition of the National Anthem by award-winning singer, songwriter Karla Moxley.
Students from Our Lady of Malibu School also performed a special rendition of "America's Finest" and "God Bless America" while shaking veterans hands. Other performances included "I'm An American" by Kathy Bee, a rendition of "Heroes" by Mike Burke and a flag pin ceremony by Girl Scout Troop 2615.
U.S. Navy Petty Officer First Class Kevin Johnson was one of several active duty officers who shared why they volunteered to serve in the military.
"I serve to protect my family and my friends rights so they can have a life most don't have around the world," Johnson said.
U.S. Navy Cmdr. Kumar Atarthi thanked veterans for their service.
"We know that there are soldier, sailors, airmen, Marines, coast guardsmen worldwide protecting us and defending us against an insidious enemy such as radical fundamentalism," Atarthi said, adding that members of the military are also on humanitarian missions around the globe.