The contributions of America’s service members are so voluminous that a single day isn’t enough to honor their sacrifices. To that the end, UC Santa Barbara’s Veterans and Military Services (VMS) will participate in a week’s slate of activities to celebrate Veterans Day.
“For our community, Veterans Day is a time for the campus to acknowledge the service of the 124 student veterans who currently attend UCSB, and the hundreds more that came before them,” said Coby Dillard, VMS coordinator. “Our Veterans Week programming calls on the campus to make a greater effort to understand the experiences of the student veteran, removed from political discussions regarding the nature of their service. It’s a way for the campus community to do more than say ‘thank you for your service.’ By attending our events, we hope to provide the context of sacrifice that military service requires.”
The festivities kick off Saturday, Nov. 2, from 5 to 9 p.m. with the Pierre Claeyssens Veterans Foundation Military Ball at the Hilton Santa Barbara Beachfront Resort. Veterans, active duty military and the public are invited to the event.
Campus activities begin Tuesday, Nov. 5, with a Military Networking Lunch at Mosher Alumni House from noon to 2 p.m. The event is open to military-related students, faculty and staff — including military spouses and dependents.
“It’s an opportunity for my students to meet others across campus who also share the fraternity of military service,” Dillard said. “For faculty and staff, it’s an opportunity to meet and build relationships with students who they can serve as mentors during their time in our community.”
“Lunch With a Vet” takes place Wednesday, Nov. 6, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the campus’s Student Resource Center. The lunch, Dillard said, “is designed to bring my students together with the broader campus community, in an effort to dispel some of the stereotypes that they face. Often, military-related students aren’t thought about as a community that faces different micro-aggressions and biases; unfortunately, such mischaracterizations about my students occur too frequently. We invite others to sit down with us, hear our stories and ask questions that will help begin to build understanding and community.”
The Santa Barbara Veterans Day Parade begins Saturday, Nov. 9, at noon at Sola and State streets and ends at the Carriage and Western Art Museum of Santa Barbara, on Castillo Street.
The Veterans Day Ceremony takes place Monday, Nov. 11, at 10 a.m. at Santa Barbara Cemetery. The one-hour ceremony is presented by Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 1649 and the Pierre Claeyssens Veterans Foundation. Dillard will speak at the event.
The festivities wrap up Tuesday, Nov. 12, from 7 to 9 p.m. with a screening of “Surviving Home” at the campus’s MultiCultural Center. A panel discussion will follow the documentary. A reception to celebrate renovations to UCSB’s Veterans Resource Center will precede the film.
“We wanted to screen a film that speaks about the challenges veterans face during their transition out of the military, as this is a significant part of ‘our story’ that is often misunderstood,” Dillard said. “This film, and the discussion that follows, will challenge viewers’ assumptions about the transition from service member, and hopefully prompt the question, ‘what more can I do to help?’ ”