SAN DIEGO (CNS) - As a county with the third highest population of veterans in the United States, San Diego County has multiple events Wednesday meant to honor those who served in the Armed Forces.
Rep. Mike Levin, D-San Juan Capistrano, announced the formation of a panel of servicemembers, veterans, and other community leaders who will work together on recommendations to name either an Oceanside or San Diego Department of Veterans Affairs facility after a woman veteran.
The VA Facility Dedication Advisory Panel will compile a report on notable women veterans with ties to the region who are worthy of the honor. Currently, there are no VA facilities in the United States that are named after women veterans, and neither the San Diego VA Medical Center nor the Oceanside VA Clinic are named after an individual.
The panel is led by Army Veteran and Carlsbad resident Karin Brennan.
"Throughout our nation's history, women have served and sacrificed for our freedom just like men, but have often gone without the recognition they deserve," Levin said.
"It is past time to rectify that injustice and live up to our responsibility to honor all veterans, including women. It's disappointing that not a single VA facility in the country is named after a woman veteran, but we can change that here in our district."
In September 2020, the VA released the 2020 Report of its Advisory Committee on Women Veterans. The committee made seven recommendations to VA, one of which is the inclusionary branding of VA facilities. This item recommended that VA "form a working group to recommend names for VA undedicated facilities to honor women veterans."
"It is my honor to lead a group of distinguished veterans and servicemembers who are committed to recognizing the extraordinary contributions of women veterans," Brennan said.
"Inspired by women like Capt. Lillian Daly, the first female Marine based at Camp Pendleton, I served side by side with men, performing the same mission and taking the same risks. It's time for our service to receive equal recognition, and that can start by finally naming a VA facility after a woman veteran."
Other Veterans Day events include:
-- A Veterans Day boat parade hosted by Fleet Week San Diego. The parade provides an opportunity to celebrate the men and women who have served and are currently serving. It will feature boats of all sizes decorated to salute and honor veterans and members of the military.
The parade will take place on San Diego Bay starting at 10 a.m. and proceed from Shelter Island under the skyline of Downtown San Diego and work its way up to the Coronado Bridge where it will cross the Bay and proceed south along the Coronado Shoreline. There will be live demonstrations by the U.S. Coast Guard as well as vintage Aircraft Flyovers and other attractions on the bay.
-- The USS Midway Museum will hold a variety of events, including two precision parachute jumps by the U.S. Navy's "Leap Frogs" onto the ship's flight deck at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. Along with active-duty Navy SEALS, the parachuting demonstration will include a SEAL veteran.
The Midway will feature an art exhibition on its flight deck by Navy Chief Petty Officer Joe Pisano. His work is considered "3D industrial," and uses items like drywall screws, dog tags and golf tees.
The San Diego Blood Bank will have its mobile tent outside the Midway Museum. Donors will receive one ticket for entry into the museum. Veterans and active duty military will get free admission all day.
Lastly, in celebration of the 75th anniversary of the end of World War II, the USS Midway Museum will conduct a special broadcast of its "Destination Midway" live webcast series at 12:30 p.m. The webcast will feature ship historian Karl Zingheim as he interviews four WWII veterans.
-- Meals on Wheels San Diego County, a nonprofit organization that supports the independence and well-being of seniors in need by delivering them nutritious meals, will make a special delivery to honor an Oceanside veteran.
Brent Wakefield, president and CEO of Meals on Wheels San Diego County, will deliver meals to World War II Navy veteran Ed Kruck and thank him for his service. Additionally, his son, Ed Jr. -- who is also a Vietnam War veteran -- will join him.
-- Honor Flight San Diego will host a "Parade of Honor." The socially-distanced, no-contact, drive-thru parade through the Kearny Mesa neighborhood is for military veterans of all eras.
At the end of the route, every military veteran will receive a care package from Operation Gratitude and Honor Flight San Diego. Operation Gratitude donated the items for the 1,000 care packages and Honor Flight San Diego collected over 3,000 letters from community supporters around the country. The care packages were assembled Sunday by a team of Honor Flight San Diego volunteers.
-- There will be 18 San Diego County COVID-19 testing sites remaining open, free of charge and most do no require an appointment. Most county- organized testing sites are now appointment-free, with few a mix of appointments and no-appointments. Visit www.211sandiego.org or call 2-1-1 for more information.
-- All San Diego administrative offices will be closed for the Veterans Day federal holiday.
Curbside trash, recyclables and yard waste will be collected as scheduled for customers served by the city's Environmental Services Department. The city's Miramar Landfill will be open.
Torrey Pines, Mission Bay and Balboa Park golf courses will be open normal hours. In honor of veterans, weekday rates will be applied. All city skate parks will be open.
All public buildings in Balboa Park will be closed, including the Balboa Park Activity Center, Botanical Building, Casa del Prado, Municipal Gym and War Memorial Building.
Miramar Reservoir and Murray Reservoir will be open a half-hour before sunrise until sunset. Barrett Reservoir will be open for waterfowl hunting by appointment only. All other City reservoirs will be closed. Chollas Lake will be open 6:30 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Parking meters, time restrictions for parking on streets and yellow zones within San Diego will not be enforced. Red, white and blue zones are still enforced every day. Parking rules on Port of San Diego property and in different cities may vary.
Also closed will be libraries and book pickup service, city pools, the city's refuse/recyclables container sales office on Miramar Place, Open Space and Maintenance Assessment District Offices, and the Family Justice Center.
Individuals needing help related to domestic violence should call 9-1- 1 and/or the Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-888-385-4657.