by Brittany Avila
Last Friday, over 100 guests and passerby’s paid their patriotic dues to our country’s flag and the freedom and history it represents at the first ever Flag Day ceremony at El Presidio de Santa Bárbara State Historic Park. Organized by the Santa Barbara Trust for Historic Preservation in partnership with the Sons of the American Revolution (SAR), and the Spirit of 76 Foundation, the ceremony attracted all types of people, new and familiar to El Presidio SHP.
The ceremony began with a color guard procession down Canon Perdido Street, led by Los Soldados del Presidio Real, Santa Barbara, and followed by Vandenberg Air Force Color Guard, SAR Color Guard, US Naval Sea Cadets and a Boy Scouts troop. The procession ended in front of El Presidio chapel, which had a large 50-star American flag, a present from SAR to SBTHP, hanging from the bell tower, and 12 flags representing different phases in American history and armed forces posted along the rest of the building. After an exciting cannon firing, Vandenberg Color Guard then lowered the 28 star American flag from the flag pole and presented it to Dr. Jarrell Jackman, SBTHP’s executive director, who explained that the same flag was raised at the Presidio during the Mexican-American War. The 28-star flag was replaced with the 50 star flag, raised by Vandenberg Color Guard.
After the formal flag raisings the audience was graced with young Ricki Lee Benedetto’s rendition of the National Anthem, and then led in the Pledge of Allegiance by Afghanistan War veteran Jason Nelson after a brief interpretation of the historic salute by Robert Duncan. The rest of the ceremony included a notable performance by Adam Phillips singing “America the Beautiful,” and a speech on the history of the “Star Spangled Banner” by keynote speaker and well known military historian Dr. Roger McGrath. By the end of the ceremony everyone in attendance was feeling the red, white and blue and to quote Adam Phillips’ song at the conclusion, “Proud to be an American.”
SBTHP Staff was proud to host and support this patriotic national holiday. For more photos from the event, visit our Flickr Page here.
Brittany Avila is the office manager for the Santa Barbara Trust for Historic Preservation.