By Heidi Ortloff
On November 11th, 2016, the Santa Barbara Trust for Historic Preservation commemorated Veterans Day with a ceremony held at El Presidio de Santa Bárbara State Historic Park. Members of Los Soldados del Real Presidio de Santa Bárbara conducted the ceremony in Spanish era uniforms and carried flags representing the five branches of the U.S. Armed Forces.
The Santa Barbara Community Flute Ensemble accompanied the Soldados and provided American Revolution-period music. Director of Programs Kevin McGarry gave a short introduction to the ceremony, introducing the audience to the rich military history of Santa Barbara which includes the Presidio as a historic military fort. WWll veteran and SBTHP Life Honorary Director James G. Mills gave remarks on his service during WWll which provided the over fifty audience members with a personal connection to service.
To conclude the event, audience members were invited to share their thoughts concerning the holiday. Many veterans spoke of the impact their service had on their lives and family, which provided a touching end to the ceremony. After the event visitors were welcome to look at a collection of military vehicles on display which were lent by Rob Gordon, as well as tour the Presidio.
For more photos from the ceremony by Michael Imwalle, visit our Flickr album here.
Heidi Ortloff is a California State Parks interpreter stationed at El Presidio SHP.