Roughly 50 uniformed men and women marched down State Street this past weekend for the Santa Barbara Veterans Day parade, honoring several generations of military servicemen and women.
Several prominent veterans — including retired U.S. Marine Corps Brigadier General Frederick Lopez and retired U.S. Navy Vice Admiral Albert Baciocco — spoke alongside civilian governmental figures such as congresswoman Lois Capps and assemblymember Das Williams. The commemoration was organized by 11 local groups, including the Pierre Claeyssens Veterans’ Museum & Library.
According to the museum’s co-founder Hazel Blankenhit, the organization secured several tanks and armored vehicles for this year’s celebration.
“More vehicles, bigger flyover — bigger participation!” Blankenhit said.
The march collectively recognized U.S. soldiers from various generations and conflicts and featured several musical performances. Additionally, soldiers attended the annual Military Ball on Saturday at Fess Parker’s DoubleTree Resort with featured speaker and World War II veteran Louis Zamperini.
Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Bo Thompson, a 20-year old who served in the Persian Gulf during the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, said the commemoration allowed fellow servicemen to pay respects to their peers.
“It is a great honor to come to Santa Barbara and honor the troops that have come before us,” Thompson said.