Instead of floats, bands and vehicles filled with former military along the waterfront Wednesday, Veterans Day in San Diego saw a COVID-era boat parade with dozens of watercraft on San Diego Bay, Navy Leap Frogs parachutists landing on the USS Midway and a U.S. Coast Guard helicopter demonstrating a rescue.
Small groups of spectators watched from the Midway Museum, the Embarcadero and harbors along the bay. The watercraft left Shelter Island, went south to the Coronado Bridge and back north along Coronado.
A PCF 816 Swift Boat from the Maritime Museum of San Diego, manned by veterans, and the Yacht “America” hosted active duty members among the private boats.
Vintage military planes flew over the bay and the U.S. Coast Guard put on a rescue demonstration in front of the Broadway Pier.
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As a county with the third-highest population of veterans in the United States, San Diego County had multiple events planned to honor those who served in the armed forces.
To begin the day, Rep. Mike Levin announced the formation of a panel of service members, veterans and other community leaders who will work together on recommendations to name either an Oceanside or San Diego Department of Veterans Affairs facility after a female veteran.
“Throughout our nation’s history, women have served and sacrificed for our freedom just like men, but have often gone without the recognition they deserve,” Levin said. “It is past time to rectify that injustice and live up to our responsibility to honor all veterans, including women.”
Veterans Day celebrations across San Diego County included:
- An art exhibition on the USS Midway flight deck by Navy Chief Petty Officer Joe Pisano. His work is considered “3D industrial,” and uses items like drywall screws, dog tags and golf tees.
- The San Diego Blood Bank had a mobile tent outside the USS Midway Museum. And in celebration of the 75th anniversary of the end of World War II, the museum conducted a special broadcast of its “Destination Midway” live webcast series. The webcast featured ship historian Karl Zingheim, who interviewed four WWII veterans.
- Meals on Wheels San Diego County, a nonprofit organization that supports the independence and well-being of seniors in need by delivering them nutritious meals, made a special delivery to honor an Oceanside veteran. Brent Wakefield, president and CEO of Meals on Wheels San Diego County, delivered meals to World War II Navy veteran Ed Kruck and thanked him for his service. Additionally, his son, Ed Jr. — who is also a Vietnam War veteran — joined them. Ann Marie Price, spokeswoman for the event, said Ed Kruck “was really happy” to receive the food. “It was a really beautiful day to see that,” she added.
- Honor Flight San Diego hosted a “Parade of Honor,” a socially distanced, no-contact, drive-thru event through the Kearny Mesa neighborhood for military veterans of all eras. At the end of the route, every military veteran received a care package from Operation Gratitude and Honor Flight San Diego. Operation Gratitude donated the items for the 1,000 care packages and Honor Flight San Diego collected over 3,000 letters from community supporters around the country. The care packages were assembled Sunday by a team of Honor Flight San Diego volunteers.
Eighteen San Diego County COVID-19 testing sites remain open, free of charge, with most not requiring an appointment. Most county-organized testing sites are now appointment-free, with few a mix of appointments and no- appointments. Visit www.211sandiego.org or call 2-1-1 for more information.
All San Diego administrative offices were closed for Veterans Day, which is a federal holiday. Curbside trash, recyclables and yard waste were collected as scheduled for customers served by the city’s Environmental Services Department. The city’s Miramar Landfill was open.
Miramar Reservoir and Murray Reservoir were open a half-hour before sunrise until sunset. Barrett Reservoir was open for waterfowl hunting by appointment only. All other city reservoirs were closed. Chollas Lake was open from 6:30 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Parking meters, time restrictions for parking on streets and yellow zones within San Diego were not enforced. Red, white and blue zones are still enforced every day.
Also closed were libraries and book pickup service, city pools, the city’s refuse/recyclables container sales office on Miramar Place, Open Space and Maintenance Assessment District Offices, and the Family Justice Center.
Individuals needing help related to domestic violence should call 9-1- 1 and/or the Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-888-385-4657.
Updated at 7:50 p.m. Nov. 11, 2020
— City News Service contributed to this report.