In an effort to honor the service of former members of the United States armed forces, the city of Santa Monica gathered Monday in Palisades Park to celebrate Veteran’s Day and the 20th anniversary of Santa Monica’s Veteran Memorial.

The festivities kicked off early Monday morning as local residents, servicemembers, first-responders and even boy scouts headed out to the local veteran’s memorial located on Ocean Avenue to pay their respects and enjoy a short service presented by city leaders.

Veteran’s For Peace was recognized for the group’s commitment to honoring and celebrating veterans in Santa Monica and across the nation, and SMDP Explorers also participated in the festivities.

“It’s wonderful to see our community come together today to honor the sacrifices that the men and women who have served this country in the military have made,” Mayor Gleam Davis said from the podium Monday.

Being an army mom herself, Davis said the sacrifice made by the families of veterans is also worthy of praise, “so I hope as we honor and respect (servicemembers) on Veterans day that we not only honor their service but the sacrifices of their family — the missed holidays, the missed birthdays, the general anxiety that goes with having a loved one who is doing the work of protecting our country at home and abroad.”

Davis added every day the nation reserves Monday, Nov. 11 as a time to express thanks to all the brave women and men who’ve protected the great freedoms that are enjoyed by citizens every day.

“November 11 is the day the United States signed the armistice that ended the First World War. Over 100,000 Americans made the ultimate sacrifice and died in service for their country,” Davis added. “Since then, the United States has participated in over 6 major wars — each time calling on the men and women in our military to brave the battle, face the fire and fight for our country.”

City officials said the five pillars at Palisades Park have stood for 20 years representing the various military branches of the U.S.

“We designed this location as a special place for people to reflect remember and show respect for those that gave their lives, who gave of themselves, who have returned from battle, who have served our country so well,” Davis said, describing how the sun will set on the pillars later in the day, symbolizing peace and healing.

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