By Raiza Giorgi

Some of the veterans from WWII may have had trouble standing during the armed service song from their military branch during the annual Veterans Day program at the Solvang Veterans’ Memorial Hall, but those who sat near them held chairs and arms as they stood.

Four year old Buellton resident Gauge Flora saluting in his U.S. Marine outfit honoring Veterans Day and his mother Jessica who served in the Marines.

The Vets’ Hall was packed with veterans and those who came to honor their service on Monday Nov. 12. The ceremony started with the raising of the flags outside and was followed by speeches from local military dignitaries and songs performed by the SYV Master Chorale and the Santa Ynez Valley Union High School Band.

U.S. Air Force veteran Heather Moselle spoke about her time being deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan, and her job of essentially getting to “push the big red button and the bad guys stop,” which drew a laugh from the crowd.

Moselle was the first woman veteran invited to speak at the annual program and she spoke of the importance of elected officials establishing veterans benefits. Those benefits were able to further her career in studying mental health to one day help those other veterans coming back with traumas.

“Find ways in your own areas to help veterans and talk to your elected officials about how they support our veterans,” echoed speaker Bruce Porter.

Porter graduated from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point and served as an officer in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for over 25 years. He led assignments that included direct combat, construction and environmental protection. He retired in 2001 with the rank of Colonel.

This year marked the 100th anniversary of Veterans, originally known as Armistice Day. The origin goes back to a railroad car parked on a siding in the forest of Compiègne, France. There, in the early morning of November 11, 1918, the Allied nations and Germany signed an armistice bringing the fighting of World War I to end. All fighting ceased on the 11th hour of that 11th day of the 11th month. For that reason, November 11, 1918 has always been regarded as the end of World War I.

The Santa Ynez Valley Star thanks the men and women who have served our country.