A weekend of Memorial Day remembrance in the Santa Ynez Valley begins Saturday and concludes Monday with a program of short ceremonies conducted by American Legion Post 160 and VFW Post 7139.
All Valley veterans, residents, and their families are invited to join in solemn observance, said Alvin Salge, Commander of Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 7139.
On Saturday, May 27, American Flags will be placed on veterans’ graves at the Santa Ines Mission, Chalk Hill, Oak Hill, and Saint Marks cemeteries in the Santa Ynez Valley.
According to Salge, over 900 veteran graves will be decorated at Oak Hill starting at 9 a.m.
VFW Post 7139 members on both Saturday and Sunday will hand out Red Poppies at the front of Albertsons in Buellton from 1 to 3 p.m. The poppy was historically distributed after WWI to honor the servicemen and women who perished in that war.
On Monday, Memorial Day, American Legion Post 160 will conduct short ceremonies at local cemeteries on May 29, starting at Chalk Hill at 10 a.m.; 10:30 a.m. at Santa Ines Mission; 11 a.m. at Oak Hill; and 11:30 a.m. at St. Mark's.
At 12 p.m., VFW Post 7139 will conduct a Memorial Day Program at the Solvang Veterans Memorial Hall that will include the Santa Ynez Valley Chorale, Vandenberg Space Force Base and visiting Post guest speakers, American Legion Post 160, and the Boy Scouts troop.
A free luncheon will follow in the American Legion Wing, Salge said.
A weekend of ceremony each year is held to remember and honor all servicemen and women who gave their lives to protect us, our freedoms, and way of life — from the Civil War to the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, Salge said, noting that Memorial Day remembrance includes a 234-year span in some 60 military actions that claimed 1.4 million lives.
"Sacrifice is meaningless without remembrance," he said. "America’s collective consciousness demands that all citizens be aware of, and recall on special occasions the deaths of their fellow countrymen during and after wartime."
Lisa André covers lifestyle and local news for Santa Ynez Valley News and Lompoc Record, editions of the Santa Maria Times.