Wednesday, April 25 , 2018, 8:02 pm | Fair 56º


Santa Barbara Family YMCA Plans Special Recognition for Veterans Day

At 11 a.m. Monday, the Santa Barbara Family YMCA will observe Veterans Day with a special recognition on the patio.

Children and youth will lead the flag ceremony. Live music will be provided by Douglas Clegg. Retired Brigadier General Fred Lopez will speak. Other veterans are involved in the planning and execution of the event. Members of the Active Older Adult Committee will provide and serve the refreshments.

Although the observance may be of greatest interest to veterans and their families, everyone is invited to attend. The event is not limited to members of the Y but is open to the entire community. Visitors may simply tell the person at the check in desk that they are here for the Veterans Day observance in order to be admitted.

The Armistice that ended The Great War, what we came to know as World War I, was signed on Nov. 11, 1918 at 11 a.m. The Great War was called the war to end all wars, a wishful thought, and even into the 1950s Americans were still calling Nov. 11 Armistice Day. Some of us will remember when the name was changed to Veterans Day, a way to recognize the service and sacrifice not only of those who served in World War I but also those who served in World War II and Korea. Since then there have been others — Vietnam, the Gulf War, and most recently Iraq and Afghanistan. Sad to say, wars did not come to an end in 1918.

Service and sacrifice are two words that represent what is at the heart of the observance. The event is not a celebration. It is a remembering of the personal cost of war. The decisions of war are made at much higher levels. War’s physical and emotional burdens are borne and shared by people we know, people like you and me, our parents and children, our neighbors and friends. Those who wait are among those who serve.

School children in the 1950s were encouraged or required to memorize John McCrae’s poem, “In Flanders Fields,” written of the burial ground in France where McCrae had conducted a burial service for a comrade a few days before. These words stand out:

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We loved, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

I look back and know now that for many of our parents and teachers the Great War was only 35 years earlier, not so long for them, just as the Vietnam era is not so long ago for many of us now. When we read of the war casualties in the Los Angeles Times or The Washington Post, they are happening now. Iraq was just yesterday. Afghanistan is immediate.

The purpose of Veterans Day is for the nation to remember, and for new generations to remember, the personal cost of conflict. It is a way to salute those who are serving now and those who have served in the past. It is one small way that we have of carrying out Abraham Lincoln’s charge to the ages in his Second Inaugural Address, “With malice toward none; with charity for all ... Let us strive on to finish the work we are in; to bind up the nation’s wounds; to care for him who shall have borne the battle, and for his widow, and his orphan — to do all which may achieve a just and lasting  peace, among ourselves, and with all nations.”

Participation and events will vary by branch, so click here or contact your local YMCA for detailed information.

» Camarillo Family YMCA, 3111 Village at the Park Drive, 805.484.0423

» Lompoc Family YMCA, 201 W. College Ave., 805.736.3483

» Montecito Family YMCA, 591 Santa Rosa Lane, 805.969.3288

» Santa Barbara Family YMCA, 36 Hitchcock Way, 805.687.7727

» Stuart C. Gildred YMCA, 900 N. Refugio Road in Santa Ynez, 805.686.2037

» Ventura Family YMCA, 3760 Telegraph Road, 805.642.2131

— Thomas Schmid is an Active Older Adult Program specialist for the Santa Barbara Family YMCA.

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