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On Veterans Day, NBC Bay Area's Chrisite Smith outlines some of the events going on to celebrate and say "Thank you" to U.S. veterans.
Communities throughout the Bay Area Monday are honoring those who have served in the military with Veterans Day parades, ceremonies and other tributes to their bravery.
A parade was scheduled to begin at noon in downtown San Jose. The grand marshal is retired U.S. Air Force General Pete Worden. He is now the director at the NASA Ames Research Center at Moffett Field.
Other events are being held in Milpitas, San Leandro, Petaluma, Walnut Creek, Richmond, San Rafael and other cities. There were also Veterans Day ceremonies late Monday morning aboard the USS Hornet in Alameda and the USS Potomac in Oakland.
This evening, at about 5:30 p.m., a vigil will be held on a hillside near the Lafayette BART station where roughly 4,000 crosses have been placed since 2006 in memory of those killed in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. The memorial also contains Stars of David, crescents and other symbols.
Over the weekend, volunteers from a local middle school helped touch up the paint on some of the crosses, Heaton said.
Jeff Heaton, coordinator of the cross project, said state Sen. Mark DeSauliner, D-Concord, is expected to speak at the 5:30 p.m. ceremony at the corner of Deer Hill and Oak Hill roads.
A small band will play, and there will be a discussion about establishing peace and helping veterans.
Heaton said project organizers are exploring the possibility of creating housing for veterans at the site at some point in the future.
Since the project began in 2006, Heaton said several local organizations have gotten involved in maintaining the site, including the Mount Diablo Peace and Justice Center and the local network of the Buddhist Peace Fellowship.
"People started to realize the war was not going to end well," he said of the Iraq War.
At parks in the East Bay Regional Parks District, there is free parking and admission for active, reserve and retired military personnel Monday.
In Solano County, Congressman John Garamendi, D-Fairfield, is stopping by various events throughout the day.
He had planned to start his morning at a veterans' ceremony and then a flag-raising event in Vacaville. This afternoon, he will visit a retirement community in Fairfield.
He will then speak at a Veterans Day dinner at the American Legion in Dixon at 5 p.m.
Monday morning, President Barack Obama spoke at a memorial service at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at the Arlington National Cemetery.