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Veterans Day is everyday in the Blankenship “Bunker”

Veteran’s Day is Sunday, November 11, but local events kick off Saturday at noon in Santa Barbara with the Veterans Parade.

John and Hazel Blankenship, married for 30 years, honor veterans year-round with an impressive military collection at their Santa Barbara County home called the “Bunker.”

“You gotta salute the major,” John told our reporter Beth Farnsworth as they walked past a mannequin decked out in an Army uniform.

The collection is part memorial, part museum. It is the former Navy pilot’s homage to the men and women in uniform who’ve served in the world’s militaries.

The “Bunker” is open to the public, with a reservation.

“We’ve seen everyone from school children coming through to WWII vets,” Hazel said.

The Blankenships said an estimated 800 people come through each year.

The couple is actively involved with the Pierre Claeyssens Veterans Foundation and again helped organize this year’s Military Ball and upcoming Veterans Day events, including Saturday’s parade at noon on State Street, followed by the dramatic parachute landing of retired SEALS about 1:30 p.m. near the Carriage Museum. Both events are free.

On Sunday, November 11, the Veterans Day Ceremony at Santa Barbara Cemetery starts at 10:00 a.m. It is expected to draw between 800 and 1,000 people, a much larger crowd than some five years ago.

For a tour of the Blankenship’s “Bunker, call: (805) 259-4394
For more information about this year’s Veterans Day events, click here:

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