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Veterans honored in special ceremony at Santa Barbara cemetery

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - A special veterans ceremony that remembers veterans for their service and sacrifice was held Thursday morning at the Santa Barbara Cemetery.

It's coordinated by the Pierre Claeyssens Veterans Foundation, and the Veterans of Foreign War Post 1649. They are supporting veterans and active duty members.

The free ceremony took place near the main flagpole. Seating was available for up to 500.

The open air ceremony began with Gold Coast Pipe & Drum Band processional; performances by David Gonzales and the Santa Barbara Choral Society along with many local guest speakers.

Chaplain Jerry Gray U.S. Air Force (Ret.) said of the veterans, "reward them richly for what they have given. Let no veteran ever feel forgotten. "

  Congressman Salud Carbajal, who served in the Marines, says government aid for veterans housing and services is improving.  He also said veterans on all levels have worked to secure the nation.

"We must continue to remind ourselves and our country that freedom is not without sacrifice and that today is not just a day for barbecuing," said Carbajal.

An ROTC Commander at UCSB said veterans often interact with the younger generation interested in a career in the military. He said regular contact is vital to the well being of a vet.

"For some, it may be picking up a phone and calling a buddy and checking in. For others it could be  a simple hug or a handshake   thanking someone for their service. The point is our amazing veterans continue to serve continue to fill leadership roles in communities all over the nation and continue to inspire those around them," said LTC Travis Buehner, U.S. Army.

Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 1649 Adjutant, Mark Thies said, "a lot of seniors people like myself who served in  Korea and Vietnam  do what  what we can to help the guys coming back from the Middle East.  They need a lot of help and a lot of support. "

Family members reflected on their loved ones who served and had a military life.

Myra Howard remembered her dad. "I'm honoring my father who had 27  years in the Air Force. The last base was Vandenberg.  Although he is gone he is  always with me. He's my vet forever."

Some of the Veterans day events began last weekend with the Military Ball and this weekend there will be a parade and a luncheon to honor Veterans in the Santa Ynez Valley

Later in the day was a special lunch for all veterans at the Veterans Memorial Building on Cabrillo Boulevard coordinated in part by Adam's Angels and the Santa Barbara Agriculture and Farm Education Foundation.

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John Palminteri

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