By Susan Zamudio-Gurrola
The Santa Barbara Trust for Historic Preservation (SBTHP) continued its annual tradition of honoring our veterans and currently serving military members by hosting a ceremony including the Presidio’s own soldados and Oxnard High School’s Air Force Junior ROTC Saber Team. Historian Rose Hayden-Smith provided the keynote address, speaking on the history of this national holiday and on the United States’ involvement in the two World Wars.
Terease Chin, first vice president of the SBTHP Board of Directors, commenced the ceremony with words of acknowledgement and thanks to veterans, current military members and their families. It was a pleasure to see several veterans in the audience; some were proudly wearing their military attire. Also in attendance were Executive Director Jarrell Jackman and Board President John Poucher.
The opening performance was comprised of a group of smartly dressed members of the Oxnard High School’s Air Force Junior ROTC Saber Team. They showcased their abilities in maneuvering sabers and impressed the crowd with the precision with which they performed their drills.
Members of Los Soldados del Real Presidio de Santa Bárbara, donning their Spanish-era soldier uniforms, marched onto the Presidio parade ground carrying flags to represent the five branches of the U.S. Armed Forces while a medley of music from the Armed Forces played in the background. The soldado group consisted of Russell C. Ruiz, Jack Romero, Roger Knox, Jim Young and Guillermo Lopez, and was led by David Martinez. The crowd stood together, in respect, as a soldado raised the American flag in front of the Presidio chapel.
Following the ceremony, guest speaker Rose Hayden-Smith gave the keynote address. Hayden-Smith is an author, U.S. historian and food systems expert. She obtained her doctorate in U.S. history from the University of California, Santa Barbara and resides locally in Ventura County. She chatted afterwards with the crowd and signed copies of her book Sowing the Seeds of Victory: American Gardening Programs of World War I. The book contains a number of beautiful illustrations and is available through La Tiendita, the gift shop at El Presidio de Santa Barbara State Historic Park.
The Santa Barbara Trust for Historic Preservation is pleased to host this annual ceremony to bring together the community in honoring our veterans and their families. Words alone are not enough to thank those who have given so much to make our lives and our country a better place.
Susan Zamudio-Gurrola is the education assistant and shop manager at the Santa Barbara Trust for Historic Preservation.