By Lookout Staff
November 3, 2023 -- Santa Monica's Fourth Annual Veterans Day ceremony, which will take place next Friday at 11 a.m. on the Pier, promises to be "the biggest yet," City officials said.
The free ceremony will include a rock and blues concert by Army bands, a flyover with Blackhawk and Chinook helicopters and a swearing in of new soldiers, event organizers said.
"As Santa Monica’s mayor, I have a great appreciation for the protections afforded to our community because of the selfless service of our military," Mayor Gleam Davis said.
"And as the mother of a veteran myself, I know the physical and emotional costs that come with the job," Davis said. "I’m pleased to join with my community to take time to recognize the bravery and sacrifice of those who safeguard our freedoms at home and abroad."
Davis will make remarks at the ceremony, along with Congressman Ted Lieu and Principal Deputy Under Secretary for Benefits Michael Frueh. The keynote speech will be given by Deputy Under Secretary of the Army Mario Diaz.
There will also be a West Point Drill Team demonstration, a display of Humvees & JLTVs and a concert by Army rock band Brave the Night and Rusty de la Croix blues band.
The Army Band will perform, Miss USO Heidi-Marie Ferren will sing “God Bless America” and singer Christena Rich will sing the National anthem.
"We should always remember that freedom is not free," said Sonki Hong, Civilian Aide to the Secretary of the Army and organizer of the event, who organized the event.
"With all the tragic events currently happening around the world, it’s ever more important for us to honor and show our gratitude to our veterans and military members who continue to dedicate their lives to defending our freedom."