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Veterans Day celebrations in San Diego

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Veterans Day is Thursday, November 11th, when America honors all of the veterans who have served in the US Armed Forces.  Whereas May’s Memorial Day was originally hallowed to honor those who died in military service, Veterans Day’s focus is to “thank living Veterans for their service, to acknowledge that their contributions to our national security are appreciated, and to underscore the fact that all those who served – not only those who died – have sacrificed and done their duty.” (According to United States Department of Veterans Affairs 2010 Teachers Guide)

In his November 5th Proclamation, President Barack Obama stated, “It is not our weapons or our technology that make us the most advanced military in the world; it is the unparalleled spirit, skill, and devotion of our troops.”

While the Arlington National Cemetery celebrates November 11th with an 11am wreath laying ceremony on the Tomb of the Unknowns, San Diego will host its 24th Annual Parade beginning the same day, same time starting from Cedar Street & Pacific Highway.  This parade’s theme is “Cold War Veterans,” honoring Waldo Joe Brunner, the “2010-2011 Veteran of the Year.”

Local celebrations started as early as Tuesday this week with a naturalization ceremony for service members aboard the Midway air craft carrier on Harbor Drive, a luncheon at the San Diego Chinese Historical Museum honoring Chinese-American veterans, a Veterans Ceremony at UCSD and Carlsbad’s Legoland unveiling of a 10-foot-long  Lego Vietnam Veterans Memorial.

Wednesday’s San Diego celebrations include an 11am parade in downtown San Diego starting at Pacific Highway and Cedar Street.  This particular parade is themed, “Welcome Home: Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom Veterans.”

Also Wednesday, the Midway will hold various events including free-for-veterans admission with a 3pm ceremony welcoming a restored World War II fighter plane, a preview of “World War II in HD” and a sky-diving demo.  Midway will later host a movie at 6pm Wednesday evening showing “The Hurt Locker” and a memorial will be set up in front of the Midway with crosses to display military that have died in the Iraq and Afghan wars.

From Chula Vista to Fallbrook communities in San Diego are holding their own times of celebration and reflection this week.  See “Veterans Day events around the county” for details and if you’d like the Veterans Day celebration to last all year long, you can sign up to be a Veteran volunteer at http://www.volunteer.va.gov/

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