Veterans Day Activities Around Santa Fe

- November 10, 2011

"Here are some events and special offerings taking place this Veterans Day weekend..."

Veterans Day in Santa Fe is a tradition unique as the City Different itself. You can attend a patriotic Plaza parade, followed by a solemn ceremony at the Bataan Memorial Building. Or, you can walk a city block away and "affirm the interconnectedness of all life" in a drum circle at the Railyard's "Live As One" Veterans Day event.

Whatever your method of observation, in a city that has built a strong identity around social activism, the unabashed application of the First Amendment and progressive politics, Veterans Day is an opportunity to engage with our diverse community by recognizing the people who have made great sacrifices in the effort to support our country.

Although it's probably more of a Memorial Day activity, there may be no better way to get a sense of the contributions and great sacrifice made by veterans of the U.S. Military than by taking a walk through the Santa Fe National Cemetery on Guadalupe Street. It is the site of approximately 47,000 interments, including the final resting places of Oliver LaFarge, Governor Charles Bent, plus thousands upon thousands more, whose stories and contributions to their country remain incalculable. It serves as a good reminder that Veterans Day is an opportunity to recognize and observe the accomplishments and sacrifices made by the veterans who live among us -- as more than soldiers, paramedics or support personnel, but as fathers, sisters, neighbors, fellow students and friends -- many of whom are in a state of transition and re-assimilation, and need our community's support.

An interesting factoid about this year's Veterans Day, which falls on 11/11/11. It will be another 100 years (2111) until this symmetry occurs again. In honor of Veterans Day, all non-essential federal government offices are closed. Non-essential City of Santa Fe and Santa Fe County services are closed. Mail delivery will cease for the day.

Here are some events and special offerings taking place this Veterans Day weekend.

Veterans Day Parade and Ceremony, 10 a.m., Friday, Nov. 11 on the Santa Fe Plaza. A ceremony follows at 11 a.m. At the Veteran's Memorial Monument at the Bataan building, featuring keynote speaker Colonel Michael P. Peters, U.S. Army (retired). Peters is President of St. John's College. Music will be provided by the Santa Fe Concert Band and the Carlos Gilbert and Acequia Madre elementary school Celebration Choir. For more info call (505) 955-6043.

Veterans Day Weekend on the Train,  Nov. 11-13, train rides on the Santa Fe Southern Railway cars. More info here.

Free admission to State Museums and Monuments on Nov. 11. All New Mexico veterans and active duty military personnel, their spouses and dependent children will be admitted free of charge to all state-run museums and monuments on Veterans Day. The free general admission is to eight state museums and six State Monuments operated by the Department of Cultural Affairs. Those include the New Mexico Museum of Art, New Mexico History Museum/Palace of the Governors, Museum of International Folk Art and the Museum of Indian Arts & Culture, all in Santa Fe; the Museum of Natural History & Science and the National Hispanic Cultural Center, both in Albuquerque; the New Mexico Museum of Space History in Alamogordo; New Mexico Farm & Ranch Heritage Museum in Las Cruces; and six historic monuments statewide.

All New Mexico State Parks for veterans and active-duty military and their families are free, including day-use and camping fees. More info here.

Angel Fire's Veterans Day ceremony at the Vietnam Veterans State Park in Angel Fire with keynote speaker NM Gov. Susana Martinez, 11 a.m.

Healing the Scars at the Santa Fe Railyard, 10 a.m. to midnight. Billed as a free celebration of "oneness," including music, art, dance, ceremony, healing, a drum circle, children's activities, forums, movement classes, the movie "Thrive" and more.

The New Mexico History Museum, located on the Santa Fe Plaza, has an exhibit dedicated to the stories of New Mexicans in World War II, with subjects including the Native American Code Talkers, Bataan Death March, German prisoners of war and Japanese internment camps, war correspondent Ernie Pyle and the Manhattan Project.

Click here for a listing of events taking place throughout the state from the New Mexico Department of Veteran's Services.