by Brittany Avila
Amidst many events this year for our 50th Anniversary, the Santa Barbara Trust for Historic Preservation was pleased to honor our veterans with an annual Veterans Day Ceremony on 11/11/13 at El Presidio de Santa Barbara State Historic Park. The ceremony included many veterans who were willing to share their stories, and many more people willing to listen and honor these brave men and women.
The program kicked off with Los Soldados del Real Presidio de Santa Barbara and Oxnard High School Air Force JROTC marching into the Presidio parade ground in full uniform. Dr. Jarrell Jackman, dressed as the Presidio comandante, opened the ceremony with interesting stats regarding our veterans today. “14,000,000 men and women served in World War 2-only 1.4 million survive today, 10%, with thousands dying every month,” Jackman stated. Jim Martinez, head of Los Soldados and Vietnam and Korean War veteran followed up with an equally touching speech about the importance of veterans. Both Los Soldados and Oxnard Air Force JROTC entertained attendees with skilled performances. Colors were posted, accompanied by the playing of Taps by Presidio descendant and soldado Russell C. Ruiz, followed by an unforgettable musket firing by two other soldados. The Airforce JROTC students then gave a sabre performance, which has a sharpness and attention to detail that stunned the audience.
The most memorable part of the event were the stories that the veterans present shared. During the refreshment hour, veterans mingled with other attendees and recalled tales of their time in service. One veteran was at the Battle of Normandy, and another at the Battle of Iwo Jima. Many other veterans from the Vietnam and the Korean Wars also shared their war stories, inspiring appreciation for the service they provided.
It was an honor to listen to such important memories from some of our local veterans and gain a higher understanding of what it means to serve our country. SBTHP is proud to host this annual event, where stories are told, memories are shared, and bravery is honored.
You can find many more images from our Veterans Day event on our Flickr page, here.
Brittany Avila is the office manager at the Santa Barbara Trust for Historic Preservation