Friday is Veterans Day and Santa Barbara residents are preparing to honor U.S. military veterans for their efforts and sacrifice for their country — throughout the weekend.
The Vietnam Veterans of America, Chapter 218 sponsored the event and invited veterans to stop by and pay respects. The chopper was requested by the younger veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan and will be present for the first time ever on UCSB’s campus.
On Friday, the public is invited to Santa Barbara’s Veterans Day Parade, which begins at 11 a.m. on the corner of State and Sola streets and will travel down State Street to Cabrillo Boulevard.
Veterans are welcomed to march in the parade. Although it is not necessary to be in uniform, VVA Chapter 218 is encouraging veterans to wear their uniforms, fatigues, caps or jackets if they have them.
Veterans who plan to march should be present at the beginning of the parade by 10:45 a.m. and will be marching behind the Huey helicopter. Following the parade, the helicopter will be parked outside the Veterans Memorial Building, 112 W. Cabrillo Blvd., along with other vintage military vehicles.
At 2 p.m. Friday, a free concert originally scheduled for the Santa Barbara County Courthouse Sunken Garden has been moved to First United Methodist Church, 305 E. Anapamu St., because of the threat of rain. Parking is free.
The festivities will feature the Sheriff’s Pipe and Drum Corps led by Pipe Major Bob Guthrie; a Navy Color Guard from the visiting USS Milius; the Westmont College Orchestra conducted by Michael Shasberger and Paul Mori; combined choruses from San Marcos High School directed by Carolyn Teraoka-Brady; and soloists Cantor Mark Childs and retired Santa Barbara police Sgt. David Gonzales.
Retired Marine Corps Brig. Gen. Frederick Lopez; retired Navy Vice Adm. Albert Baciocco; Rep. Lois Capps, D-Santa Barbara; and Assemblyman Das Williams, D-Santa Barbara, also will be speaking at the concert.
At 2:15 p.m. Friday, bring your flag and cheer on the children, faculty, family and friends of Coastline Christian Academy as they celebrate Veterans Day with a patriotic parade. It will leave the school campus at 5950 Cathedral Oaks Road near Fairview Avenue, march down Cathedral Oaks Road for several blocks, then wind back to Coastline Christian Academy.
Expect a sea of red, white and blue as the students from kindergarten through eighth grade display their gratitude for service men and women with flags, streamers, balloons, decorated wagons and other patriotic projects created in class. Many family and friends who will be attending are active or retired military, and have been encouraged to come in full-dress uniform.
Veterans are also invited to the Elks-sponsored barbecue beginning at noon Friday at the Veterans Memorial Building.
Also on Friday, the Santa Barbara Trust for Historic Preservation will host a Veterans Day Ceremony at El Presidio de Santa Bárbara State Historic Park. The public is invited to honor armed service veterans, their families and currently serving military members.
The event will begin at 10 a.m. and will include a wreath ceremony, the playing of “Taps” and drill performances. Performing groups include the Navy JROTC group from Reseda High School in Los Angeles, the U.S. Naval Sea Cadet Corps, AIRPAC Squadron (ages 10 to 13), and the Air Force JROTC from Oxnard High School. ENS Reyes, executive officer of AIRPAC Squadron, will deliver the invocation.
To conclude the ceremony, the Los Soldados del Real Presidío de Santa Bárbara will fire a cannon and musket. A small reception will follow with a display of a Grand Army of the Republic military memorabilia collection.
The celebration will feature World War II bombardier and former prisoner of war Louis Zamperini as the keynote speaker. The subject of the best-selling book, Unbroken, Zamperini, now 94, is a former U.S. Olympic athlete whose B-24 was shot down in the South Pacific in 1943. He and two crew mates were the only survivors and the trio floated for 47 days in two rafts without food or water. They eventually were captured by Japanese armed forces and imprisoned for two years in Japanese POW camps.
On Sunday and Monday, the officers and crew of the USS Milius (DDG 69) will host free public tours of the Arleigh Burke-class AEGIS guided-missile destroyer, which will drop anchor off Santa Barbara on Thursday. Reservations are recommended and can be made at Sea Landing, 301 W. Cabrillo Blvd., or by calling Sea Landing at 805.963.3564.
The Los Padres National Forest is offering a “Fee Free” weekend Friday through Sunday in honor of Veterans Day. A National Forest Adventure Pass will not be required for visitors recreating this weekend in all areas of the Los Padres except for the Santa Barbara Ranger District’s Lower Santa Ynez Recreation Area, where an Adventure Pass will still be required.
In observance of Veterans Day, banks and government offices will be closed Friday.