Veterans Day Events Around the Bay Area

Nov 09, 2018
Veterans Day 2018

Although the signing of the Treaty of Versailles marked the official end of World War I in June of 2019, the fighting had actually ceased several months earlier with an armistice that took effect on November 11, 1918, on the “eleventh hour on the eleventh day of the eleventh month.” As we observe Veterans Day this Sunday, November 11, our nation marks the 100th anniversary of this ceasefire. If you’re looking for a meaningful way to honor all of those who have protected our freedoms with sacrifice and service in the United States Armed Forces, you can find plenty of enriching events and activities throughout the Bay Area this week. Here are a few to consider, along with some tips about special deals available exclusively to veterans:  

Pay respects aboard an aircraft carrier: If you’ve yet to experience the USS Hornet Sea, Air & Space Museum, this Sunday is a great opportunity to visit this National and State Historic Landmark and enjoy a special Veterans Day event for the price of regular admission (free for veterans and active Military). Another major plus: ample free parking according to the Alameda Patch. Among the scheduled activities is a special presentation by Lynn Vincent and Sara Vladic, authors of the best-selling book “Indianapolis: The True Story of the Worst Sea Disaster in U.S. Naval History and the Fifty-Year Fight to Exonerate an Innocent Man.” Joining them will be Harold Bray Sr., survivor of the USS Indianapolis, Chairman of the Survivors Organization and a retired officer of the Benicia Police Department. Click here for more information.

Take a historic walking tour in the Presidio: On Sunday, November 11 from 10:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., the members of the 9th and 10th Cavalry Association teams up with the Presidio Trust and National Parks Service to honor our veterans and the legacy of the Buffalo Soldiers, a unique army unit of black soldiers. Following a discussion at the Presidio Officers’ Club at 10:30 a.m., veteran and ranger Federik “Rik” Penn will lead a walk from the Presidio Officers’ Club to the San Francisco National Cemetery while providing a historical account of the legendary Buffalo Soldiers. Find details for this free event here.

Catch San Francisco’s Veterans Day Parade: San Francisco’s Veterans Day Parade will be held at Fisherman’s Wharf again in 2018, starting at 11 a.m. on Sunday, November 11. But this year, it holds the distinction of being a National Centennial Commemoration as the city celebrates the 100th Anniversary of the ending of World War I. The parade route starts on the Embarcadero at North Point Street, proceeds north-west on Jefferson Street, then west on Jefferson Street past the review stand near Leavenworth Street and disbands at the last block of Jefferson Street at approximately 1 p.m.

Get out on a kayak: If you’re looking for a bit more physical activity, take in the still-beautiful fall Bay Area weather predicted for this Sunday on a Veterans Day Kayaking Tour by the USS Hornet. Experienced outdoor professionals provide guidance and help ensure that you have a safe experience as you enjoy the wilderness and scenic views of the Bay Area. Find details and pricing at Eventbrite.

Attend Contra Costa County’s 100th Anniversary Veterans Day Celebration: If you’re seeking a more traditional way to pay tribute to our veterans, the Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors is hosting a free event featuring a color guard ceremony, a special presentation and keynote speech from Lieutenant Colonel Mike Hudson, U.S. Marine Corps (Retired), who served in the Afghanistan War and Iraq War. Held on Tuesday, November 13, the event begins at 11 a.m. at Board Chambers at 651 Pine Street in Martinez. Following the activities at Board Chambers, refreshments will be served at the Martinez Veterans Memorial Building at 930 Ward Street at approximately 12 p.m. Shuttles are available for free transportation to and from the event. Learn more at East County Today.

Celebrate veterans at the Row: Following the City of San Jose Veterans Day Parade, Santana Row salutes veterans with “Honor on The Row” from 2 to 6 p.m.  This free event features a gold star memorial to honor fallen soldiers, a display of military vehicles and classic cars and a Car Package Collection Booth sponsored by the Cost of Courage Foundation. Among the community and veteran organizations participating are Blue Star Moms, Spirit of ‘45, Dignity Memorial and many others. Event details at

Although the men and women who have served in the U.S. military represent a proportionately low percentage of the population today, we’re proud to have many of these veterans among our members. We’re deeply grateful for your service, as we are to our entire law enforcement family whose sacrifice and courage provide protection and safety for us all.

If you’re a veteran yourself, enjoy a meal or entree on the house: We’re also pleased to report that many restaurants in California are offering special deals and complimentary meals and entrees for both veterans and active-duty military this weekend. Among those participating are BJ’s Restaurant & Brewhouse, California Pizza Kitchen, McCormick & Schmick’s (veterans and Gold Star Honorees), Acapulco, Chevy’s Fresh Mex and many more.  Just keep in mind that most businesses require proof of military service and of course, it’s best to call ahead to confirm that your local establishment is participating. Find a comprehensive list of “Where to Eat Free on Veterans Day 2018,” from the Napa Valley Patch.

For those of us civilians, keep in mind that even if you’re not attending a Veterans Day event this year, there are plenty of meaningful ways to show gratitude to those who have put their lives on the line to keep us secure and defend our liberties. You might consider making a contribution to a worthy nonprofit serving veterans and military families or asking a family member or friend who has served in the Armed Forces about this time in their lives, and then listening closely to what they tell you. And of course, a simple but effective way to honor our veterans is to go out of your way to say "Thank you for your service," to those you spot in uniform this weekend.

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