San Luis Obispo County will spend Thursday honoring the county’s more than 25,000 veterans. All over the county, events will be held in honor of those who have served, or are currently serving, the country.
Veterans Day, which began as Armistice Day after World War I on Nov. 11, 1918, was dedicated to celebrating world peace and honoring veterans of World War I. Soon after World War II and the Korean War, United States Congress changed “Armistice Day” to “Veterans Day” in order to commemorate any and all who served the country.
This Veterans Day, people will have the opportunity to pay tribute to and honor local veterans at Cal Poly and in and around San Luis Obispo.
Cal Poly’s theatre department’s fall quarter production of “Antigone and Letters to Soldiers Lost” opens Thursday in the Spanos Theater.
“Antigone” is an ancient Greek play by Sophocles that focuses on the aftermath of war. The letters are taken from books of letters from soldiers who never made it home. Director Al Schnupp said he was inspired after reading a book of letters and decided to line up the themes of the letters and “Antigone.”
“The letters were so honest and moving,” he said. “And I felt like they could be combined with ‘Antigone’ really well.”
Schnupp said he thinks it’s especially important for college students to honor veterans and going to see “Antigone” is a good way to do so.
“I had a professor write me saying that he told his students that it would be a life-changing play,” he said.
In San Luis Obispo County, residents will have the opportunity to visit the Freedom Veterans Memorial Wall at Atascadero Lake Park or at a benefit dinner at the Elks Lodge in Atascadero tonight.
In addition to a benefit dinner, the Elks Lodge will also host a Texas Hold ‘Em poker tournament to raise money for Veterans’ Express. A program which helps transport veterans to and from medical appointments.
In San Luis Obispo, the Downtown Association will have its second annual Veterans Day celebration.
Diana Cotta, the Thursday night promotional and event coordinator for the Downtown Association said there will be a ceremony at the end of Chorro St. including pipes and drums, the presenting of our colors and a drill routine by the Grizzly Youth Academy.
The Thursday night event will also be raise money for Veterans’ Express.
“Every year we will pick a Veterans’ cause to donate to,” Cotta said. “Last year, it was the Association of Amputee Surfers.”
The procession begins at the corner of Santa Rosa and Higuera streets and will end at Chorro St.
Cotta said in a community with so many veterans, it’s important to commemorate them.
“I think we need to look back and thank our veterans who have fought for us to remain free,” she said. “It’s something to take time and remember.”
Milton Batson, a Vietnam era veteran of the Air Force, said he is very proud of San Lusi Obispo county and its veterans support programs.
“San Luis Obispo County is a shining example of a county caring about their veterans, and wanting to thank them for keeping the country free,” he said.
Batson is the veteran workforce specialist for the state of California’s Workforce Service Branch. He works to ease the transition from armed forces to the workforce by helping veterans search and prepare for jobs. He will be hosting a veteran entrepreneur workshop today at the Veterans Service Office.
“Really, San Luis Obispo County should be proud of how they treat their veterans,” he said. “It’s very impressive.”
Cal Poly students agree that honoring veterans is very important to them.
“I think it’s necessary to honor and thank those who have paid the price for freedom,” history freshman Chris Nielsen said. “I’m going to be calling the veterans in my family and checking in with them, and thanking them as well.”