Hot on the heels of the 2016 World Series, the Mt. Soledad National Veterans Memorial Association Veterans Day Ceremony will also pay homage to baseball, with keynote speakers and honorees from America’s pastime.
During the 2 p.m. Friday, Nov. 11 ceremony, former San Diego Padres broadcaster Dick Enberg will speak, and Hall of Famer and war pilot Ted Williams will receive a special posthumous plaque. Lieutenant General L.A. Craparotta, who recently took over as commanding general of the 1st Marine Expeditionary force based at Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, is the keynote speaker. The ceremony takes place at Mt. Soledad National Veterans Memorial, 6905 La Jolla Scenic Drive South.
Mt. Soledad National Veterans Memorial Association trustee Phil Kendro added, “This year’s Veterans of the Year, which have yet to be announced, will also be honored. In past years, elected officials such as the Mayor, City Council members and Police Chief Shelly Zimmerman have attended. It’s a packed hour, with a lot going on.” Newscaster Mark Bailey will return as emcee.
Other notable events include performances by the 30-piece San Diego Marine Corps Band and Marine Corps Recruit Depot Color Guard, a flyover by World War II historic warbirds from Montgomery and Gillespie Air Fields.
Old Town Trolley will provide complimentary shuttle service between the Memorial and the nearby Mt. Soledad Presbyterian Church parking lot, 6551 Soledad Mountain Road.
This year’s special plaque honoree, San Diego native Theodore “Ted” Williams, was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1966 as a left fielder for the Boston Red Sox. Williams was named player of the decade 1951-1960 and played in 18 All Star games. He also served as an airman during World War II and the Korean War, but unlike many other athletes that enlisted during wartime (who were kept away from the front lines), he joined the V-5 program to become a Naval Aviator. In the Korean War, he flew 39 combat missions. Williams died in 2002.
Offering the commemorating speech is Hall of Fame and nine-time National Sportscaster of the Year broadcaster Dick Enberg, who retired from his post as the Voice of the Padres this year.
“While Memorial Day is to honor those who have died, Veterans Day is to honor those that are still with us: active duty service members, retirees and those that have transitioned out,” Kendro said. “For us, it’s particularly special because we are the only ‘living memorial’ in the United States. When you go up and look at the plaques that are there, there are some honoring those that are deceased, but many of the plaques you see are for those that are still alive. It’s a great correlation for us.”
The mission of the Memorial is to honor veterans who have proudly served to help preserve the freedoms enjoyed by Americans. At the mountaintop site, more than 4,200 individual veteran tributes are embedded on black granite plaques, and mounted onto 11 curved walls and honor United States veterans, living and deceased, from Revolutionary times to today. The memorial is open from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. (858) 459-2314. soledadmemorial.com