Residents throughout the Bay Area are honoring those who have served this weekend at various Veterans Day ceremonies, parades and memorials.
Although Veterans Day falls on Sunday, Muir Woods National Monument in Marin County will waive entrance fees throughout the weekend in recognition of current and former servicemen and women, park officials said.
Fees will be waived at all 398 National Park Service entrances throughout the country. A Saturday veterans event will be held on the USS Hornet berthed at 707 W. Hornet Ave. at Pier 3 in Alameda at 1 p.m.
The event is a tribute to astronaut Neil Armstrong, the first man on the moon as part of the Apollo 11 space mission in 1969. He died on Aug. 25 at the age of 82. Armstrong was a U.S. Naval officer and flew during the Korean War. The tribute coincides with the re-opening of the renovated Apollo Exhibit aboard the ship.
Congresswoman Jackie Speier, D-San Francisco/San Mateo, issued a statement that Veterans Day is a day to "recognize our responsibility to help veterans receive the health care and other benefits they need one they return to civilian life." She cited the approximately two million men and women who served in Iraq and Afghanistan and the mental issues they have faced upon their return from service.
Veterans Day will be observed on Sunday with certain banks, courts, schools and other government departments closed on Monday.
On Veterans Day itself, a series of parades and ceremonies are scheduled:
- In San Francisco, a parade will head off from Market and Second streets at 11 a.m. This year's parade features a salute to Iraq and Afghanistan veterans. The veterans and military contingencies will make their way through the Financial District before ending at City Hall.
- Petaluma will be holding its 23rd annual North Bay Veterans Parade starting at 1 p.m. from downtown. Also in the North Bay, a self-titled anti-war activist Country Joe McDonald will play a concert at the end of the 30th anniversary celebration of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Grove at Sonoma State University, which begins at 3 p.m. Rohnert Park Mayor Jake Mackenzie and Cotati Mayor Susan Harvey are also expected to speak at the ceremony.
- A veterans ceremony organized by the Alameda County Veterans Day Ceremony Committee and the American Legion will start at 11 a.m. in San Leandro at the San Leandro Senior Community Center at 13909 E. 14th St. The event will feature a presentation of military flags, music and tributes and includes keynote speaker East Bay native U.S. Staff Sgt. Star Lara. Lara was a combat veteran in Iraq and has served overseas in Europe and Asia as well. Other state, county and city officials, including San Leandro Mayor Stephen Cassidy will speak as part of the 60th annual event.
- The first "Veteran of the Year" award in Milpitas will be announced and presented at a ceremony at 9 a.m. at Milpitas City Hall at 455 E. Calaveras Blvd.
- In Contra Costa County several events will honor those who have been deployed. In Walnut Creek a free, open to the public ceremony will be held at the Lesher Center for the Arts at 1601 Civic Drive at 11 a.m. Walnut Creek Mayor Bob Simmons will speak and there will be a musical concert with patriotic songs and a salute to all the branches of the Armed Forces.
- A Veterans Day program is planned at the Performing Arts Center at the San Ramon Valley High School in Danville at 11 a.m. A slideshow will honor Korean War veterans and the keynote speaker will be U.S. Marine William Harbin who served during the Korean War.
- In Concord, a Veterans Day event will be held at the Concord Vietnam Memorial at Newhall Park at 11 a.m. A speech will be delivered by Disabled American Veterans National Service Officer LeRoy Acosta. A reading of the names on the Concord Vietnam Memorial plaque will take place at the end of the observance.
- A U.S. Coast Guard cutter will be returning to its homeport at Coast Guard Island in Alameda on Sunday after a 150-day deployment to the Arctic for the Coast Guard's Arctic Shield exercise this summer. A homecoming for the Bertholf crew will begin around 10 a.m. on the island.