A slate of ceremonies and programs are scheduled this weekend in the Napa Valley to mark the 100th anniversary of Veterans Day on Sunday. Napa, American Canyon, Yountville, St. Helena and Calistoga all will host events around the holiday, a century after the armistice that ended World War I in 1918.
Veterans Memorial Park on Main Street will be the venue of the annual downtown remembrance organized by American Legion Post 113 on Sunday at 11 a.m.
The observance will mark the 100th anniversary of the Allied forces’ victory in World War I, and of the armistice that ended the conflict in November 1918, according to C.J. Bertagna of Post 113.
Bertagna will give the ceremony’s keynote speech in the Army uniform of a doughboy, one of the U.S. soldiers who fought on the Allied side starting in 1917. He has written an infantryman’s letter to home from the battlefront that he will read.
Other scheduled speakers include Mayor Jill Techel, Marine Corps veterans and City Council candidate Bernie Narvaez, and Napa County Chaplain Lee Shaw. The ceremony also will feature a musical performance by the Napa Valley College wind ensemble.
A survivor and key figure of the 1993 military operation in Somalia that inspired the book and movie “Black Hawk Down” will speak at American Canyon’s Veterans Day observance Sunday at 11 a.m. in the Community Center gymnasium at 100 Benton Way.
The keynote speaker will be Dan Schilling, who served in Army Special Forces and as a combat controller and special tactics officer during more than 30 years in the military. Among his combat deployments was Operation Gothic Serpent, in which Schilling was credited with saving the lives of an Army Ranger and Navy SEAL after the downing of two U.S. Black Hawk helicopters in the Somali capital of Mogadishu, according to the city.
The American Canyon ceremony also will include a presentation of colors by Cubs Scout Troop 178, and a reading of the Pledge of Allegiance led by the American Canyon Boys and Girls Club. Refreshments will be served after the event.
More information is available at cityofamericancanyon.org/veteransday
The Veterans Home of California at 100 California Drive will host a Veterans Day ceremony on Monday, with the event starting at 10 a.m. in front of the home’s Armistice Chapel. Organizers will mark the centennial both of the chapel and of Armistice Day, the holiday’s original form, which stemmed from the end of World War I in 2018, according to state Department of Veterans Affairs spokesman Joshua Kiser.
Armistice Chapel will be open to the public on Monday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.
On Veterans Day itself, the town of Yountville will unveil a sculpture designed in tribute to U.S. service members of all eras. Faces of Freedom will be dedicated in a ceremony at 3 p.m. Sunday at Veterans Memorial Park, at Washington Street and California Boulevard. Nine months in the making, the artwork will include six bas-reliefs of military men and women as oversize versions of the “dog tags” identifying troops in the field.
The artwork was designed by Robert Eccleston, a former Army captain turned sculptor, and won town approval in 2017.
The community is invited to Rianda House at 1475 Main St. at 3 p.m. Friday for a celebration recognizing local veterans.
Jeff Conwell, a former Navy aviator and leader of St. Helena’s American Legion Post 199, will lead a group of veterans who will share memories and stories about their military service. A reception will follow.
For more information, visit https://bit.ly/2AN5Xd8
American Legion Post 231 will host its annual Veterans Day program at 11 a.m. Sunday at the Veterans Memorial at Logvy Park, 1401 N. Oak St. The program will include songs, a flag ceremony and the playing of taps.