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Santa Barbara Salutes Its Veterans with Annual Military Parade

Vintage vehicles — and vintage veterans — add to the authenticity in celebration of men and women who served

[Click here for a Noozhawk photo gallery.]

Santa Barbara's annual Veterans Day Parade brought out hundreds of people to honor and celebrate veterans of the U.S. armed forces Sunday.

It was a beautiful, sunny day and people gathered all along State Street, waving American flags and waiting with their cameras at the ready.

“I’m here to celebrate and honor everyone who served our country,” said Diana Byrum, who was downtown to watch the parade. “Both my husband, my father and my father-in-law were in the military so this is very close to my heart.”

Sunday's parade started at the intersection of State and Sola streets and continued down to Cabrillo Boulevard, culminating at the Santa Barbara Veterans Memorial Building. The parade was presented by the Pierre Claeyssens Veterans Museum.

Mercedes and Andrew Ruiz were watching the parade with their family.

“We wanted to show our support for parades like these," Mercedes Ruiz told Noozhawk. "Not many cities have them anymore so it’s important to be here today."

“We’re also here to show our thanks to the men who risk their lives to save our country," Andrew Ruiz added. "Those men sign up to defend our country and it’s very important to honor them.

“Today had a great spirit, and it was very fun to see all the vehicles."

The Veterans Day Parade included more than 20 military vehicles and representatives from Vandenberg Air Force Base and Naval Base Ventura County in Port Hueneme, along with local chapters of veterans and special guests riding in vintage vehicles and marching in formation.

One of the oldest veterans in the parade was 98-year-old Bill Muncaster, who joined Army officer training in 1941 and served in World War II in the 99th Infantry Division commanding 1,200 men.

Veteran Glen Cook was watching the parade Sunday with his wife of 65 years, Euginia.

“We celebrate any patriotic holiday because we love our country and we love our flag,” he explained.

“I served in World War II so for me it’s very important to honor all the veterans.”

The Cooks said they were a little disappointed about the short length of the parade, and hope it will be longer next year.

“Several years ago it was usually around three hours," Euginia Cook said. "It’s a little bit sad that it was only about 20 minutes this year, because I feel like we’re becoming less and less patriotic.

“But I thought the music was great and it was very fun to see the veterans marching down State Street.”

On Monday, a Veterans Day ceremony begins at 11 a.m. at El Presidio de Santa Barbara Historic Park, 123 De la Guerra St. The Santa Barbara Trust for Historic Preservation will be honoring the military in an event that includes a wreath ceremony, playing of taps and colors, and performances by Los Soldados del Presidio and the Oxnard High School Air Force JROTC.

Noozhawk intern Emma Hermansson can be reached at [email protected]. Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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