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Santa Maria Valley Veteran Honor Guard salutes fallen veterans at the Santa Maria Cemetery

santa maria cemetery veteran memorial
Rick Wilson

SANTA MARIA, Calif. - The Santa Maria Valley Veteran Honor Guard held an event to honor veterans at the Santa Maria Cemetery on Saturday. Veterans and neighbors joined together to honor those that served our country but have passed on.

“This is to honor each individual with a symbol of service to their country,” said Commander of the SM Valley Veteran Honor Guard Micheal Stadnick Jr.

The group placed American flags on veterans' gravesites at the Santa Maria Cemetery.

“The Santa Maria FFA has been a big supporter, the boy scouts, girl scouts, veterans groups,” said Stadnick.

The group used physical distancing practices while passing out flags.

“I consider every veteran either a brother or a sister,” said Stadnick.

The Santa Maria Band of Brothers President attended the event with other fellow members.

“It's a paying of respect to honor people that passed, that died fighting for our country,” said Baird.

Many of the attendees were loved ones placing flags on unmarked graves.

“Sometimes they died in front of us, sometimes they died in our arms,” said a somber Baird.

Standnick is a retired Air Force captain who served for 24 years and survived Vietnam with two purple hearts. A larger ceremony will take place on Monday.

“On Memorial Day we will be at the Santa Maria Cemetery. We will have a service at 11 a.m.,” said Stadnick.

No chairs will be available at the ceremony to accommodate physical distancing.

“My program includes the presentation of wreaths so any one that would like to put a wreath out can,” said Stadnick.

Colonel Anthony Mastlir will be the guest speaker and veteran Ted Jackson will be playing the bagpipes.

Article Topic Follows: Santa Maria - Lompoc - North County

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Naja Hill

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