I do not exaggerate when I say, “I love Santa Barbara.” I have been fortunate enough to call this special place my home now for the last 11 years.
As much as I love S.B., I must confess I found myself extremely disappointed in our town and our local community today.
Friday, November 11th, 2011 is the day we celebrate our veterans – men and women who have fought and sacrificed to enable us all to enjoy the freedoms we do each and every day. To honor this, there is a parade down State Street.
I have attended virtually every parade and festival this town has to offer and I was disappointed today to see just a handful of people turn out to honor our veterans. For Fiesta and Solstice we show up by the thousands. But for out veterans, the very people through whose sacrifices we are able to enjoy these festivals – we show up by the dozens. Why?
Is it because the build-up to and public acknowledgement of the Veterans Day parade is nothing but a small notice in the local paper, vs. the multiple write-ups and the pages of print advertisement, along with radio and television publicity, that go into the likes of Fiesta and Solstice?
Sure I understand, these festivals stimulate the local economy and provide for a good time. And we all know Santa Barbarians like to have a good time. Why not celebrate our veterans on the same level?
I was very pleased to hear and see a concert was being offered in the Sunken Gardens as part of the Veterans Day celebration. I think that is great! I also think that we, as a community, can do a lot more.
Why not spend more time and resources on generating a Fiesta-esque level of buzz for the Veterans Day parade? Is it solely a matter of money, or does it run deeper than that?
Our veterans are the reasons we have all that we do. They are the reason we live in this beautiful city. They are the reasons we are free to celebrate Fiesta and Solstice. They are the reasons that I am able to freely write my opinion and openly share it with my Santa Barbara neighbors without fear of severe punishment.
The time has come to give these brave men and women their long-overdue recognition. They have given and continue to give so selflessly day in and day out to preserve the freedoms we all take for granted. Let us borrow a page from their book, and start giving more of ourselves to support them on a greater level.
We have one year until Santa Barbara celebrates Veterans Day in 2012. That’s a year we all have to start talking with friends and family, to request the 30 minutes off from work. It is plenty of time for the local media to do its part and generate a buzz about Veterans Day.
If we start now and pledge to give a little more of ourselves and our time, we will undoubtedly be able to generate the crowd turn-out that our heroes deserve.