Jun 5, 2012 6:07 PM by Jeanette Trompter
The city of Guadalupe is planning the first of it's kind celebration of military heroes for the area. Guadalupe local Veronica Forest said she saw a need for more recognition of active and veteran members of the military so she set a plan into motion.
After talking to city leaders, the Guadalupe Cultural Arts and Education Center and volunteers, the first annual Celebrate Heroes Parade, Concert and Barbecue will happen in downtown Guadalupe on June 30 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
A longtime Southern Californian, Forest says that when she moved to the tiny town of Guadalupe in Santa Barbara County three years ago, she was surprised that the Central Coast didn't seem to have much in the way of celebrations (as opposed to memorials) honoring military personnel. "If you don't have a family member in the war, you are disassociated with it," said Forest, director of the Celebrate Heroes committee. "We want to forge a bridge between the general public and the military families past and present who have sacrificed so much."
Reaching out to both military and civilians from throughout the state, the event's organizers anticipate more than 1,000 participants in the parade, which begins at 11 a.m. on Guadalupe Street (also called Highway 1 and Historic Highway 1), and will feature everything from Marine Humvees and bands to floats and convertibles carrying families of those lost in battle.
One highlight will be the appearance of the Air National Guard Band of the West Coast. The parade route ends at Le Roy Park, where she's hoping as many as 10-thousand people will come to the concert and barbecue sponsored by the Central Coast Vietnam Veterans of America Post 982. Event organizers are currently seeking sponsors so that they can offer complimentary food for active duty military.
Forest said that the day will be especially focused on "Gold Star Mothers and Families," those who have lost a family member in active duty during any wars, past or present. "Our goal is to recognize these families in a way that would make their loved ones proud," she said. "We want to celebrate rather than mourn the lives that they led and the work that they did." Forest adds that representatives from each Gold Star Family will be invited to walk or ride in the parade, and they are seeking more participants from throughout the state.
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