Santa Barbara County will mark Veterans Day with ceremonies and other events on Saturday to honor the service of current and former military members. 

In Santa Barbara, the ceremony set to start at 11 a.m. at the Santa Barbara Cemetery, 901 Channel Drive, will include speeches, performances and a flyover. 

Along with retired Navy Rear Admiral John Weigold serving as the keynote speaker, the event will include presentations and performances by the UCSB Color GuardGold Coast Pipe & Drum Band; David Gonzales and the Santa Barbara Choral Society; The Prime Time Band; local guest speakers; and a flyover by The Condor Squadron.

The ceremony, presented by  Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 1649 and the Pierre Claeyssens Veterans Foundation, will take place near the main flagpole, with seating available for up to 500 and additional standing room.

In Santa Maria, the Veterans Day ceremony will have a new location taking place at the Freedom Monument Veterans Memorial in front of the Abel Maldonado Community Youth Center, 600 S. McClellan St., starting at 11 a.m. Saturday.

Speakers will include Col. Mark A. Shoemaker, Space Launch Delta 30 commander at Vandenberg Space Force Base; Dave Cross, Freedom Monument co-founder; Mayor Alice Patino; and Bob Hatch, Vietnam War veteran and Freedom Monument co-founder. 

The Veterans Day ceremony will honor all veterans and pay special tribute to the 113 Santa Maria Valley veterans who died in conflicts from World War I through the latest wars on terrorism.

Any organization, business, or individual wishing to present a wreath during the ceremony is welcome and urged to do so by showing up with a wreath. 

The Veterans Day ceremony will replace one held for years at the Santa Maria Ceremony under the direction of Michael Stadnick Jr., Commander of the Santa Maria Valley Veteran Honor Guard and the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 2521.

This year, the Santa Maria Valley Chamber of Commerce and City of Santa Maria are joining forces with VFW for the ceremony at the Freedom Monument.

Also in Santa Maria, attorney Michael B. Clayton will host the 23rd annual Veterans Day barbecue and flag ceremony at the Veterans Memorial Community Center, 313 W. Tunnell St.

The ceremony will take place at 10:30 a.m. with the barbecue meals available until 3 p.m. 

Free meals will be available for all veterans, military members and their families. Others can dine for a donation of $5.

Other ceremonies around the county will take place 11 a.m. Saturday at: 

  • Pine Grove Cemetery in Orcutt where participants will include Maj. Gen. Douglas A. Schiess, Combined Force Space Component Command commander and Space Operations Command vice commander at Vandenberg.
  • Lompoc Veterans Memorial Building, 100 E. Locust Ave., where Chief Master Sgt. Cherise L. Mosley, Space Launch Delta 30 senior enlisted Airman, will speak.
  • Solvang Veterans Memorial Hall where Col. Michael J. Jewell, Space Launch Delta 30 vice commander, will be among the speakers. 

This weekend’s events will follow gatherings that occurred last weekend including the Pierre Claeyssens Veterans Foundation Veterans Gala in Santa Barbara and the Salute to the Vets in Santa Ynez with a parade.

Veterans Day began as a reflection on the heroism of those who died in World War I, on the Nov. 11 anniversary of the 1918 armistice between the Allied nations and Germany — “the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month.”

Other nations mark Nov. 11 as Armistice Day and Remembrance Day.

Since Veterans Day falls on Saturday this year, many government agencies and schools will recognize the holiday by being closed Friday and not holding classes. 

However, the U.S. Postal Service will mark the holiday on Saturday with post offices closed and regular mail not delivered. Regular Post Office hours and mail delivery will resume on Monday, Nov. 13.