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  • 2020 Freedom Monument Veterans Memorial Ceremony Cancelled Due to COVID-19

    In a typical year, today would have been spent honoring the brave men and women who have served our country during the Freedom Monument Veterans Memorial ceremony. Unfortunately, this year’s event has been cancelled due to COVID-19. The annual ceremony, put on by the Santa Maria Valley Chamber of Commerce, traditionally takes place around the December 7th Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day at the Freedom Monument Veterans Memorial,  located at 600 S. McClelland, in front of the Abel Maldonado Community Youth Center.

    “The Freedom Monument Veterans Memorial Ceremony provides the opportunity to pay tribute to those who have sacrificed so much for us,” said Glenn Morris, President and CEO of the Santa Maria Valley Chamber of Commerce. “It is because of their sacrifices that we are able to have a vibrant community to live and thrive in.”

    In lieu of this year’s ceremony and plaque dedication, organizers and the Santa Maria Valley Chamber of Commerce are concentrating on upgrades to the monument area in preparation for an outstanding 20th anniversary event in 2021.

    “While the Freedom Monument Veterans Memorial ceremony is an important event for our community, the Chamber recognized that our traditional ceremony would not be possible this year because of COVID,” explained Glenn Morris, President/CEO of the Santa Maria Valley Chamber of Commerce. “We felt our efforts would be best spent on renovations and improvements to the monument for our 20th anniversary celebration next year.”

    The Freedom Monument Veterans Memorial is a joint project between the City of Santa Maria and the Santa Maria Valley Chamber of Commerce. It was originally dedicated on December 7th, 2001 and the monument area has been added to each year since. The Freedom Monument includes the name of every Santa Maria Valley veteran who gave their lives in times of conflict from World War One through the present. There are 113 names within the monument area and most of them died at a young age when they had so much of a future ahead of them. A full list of these names can be found here. In addition are plaques honoring Vandenberg Air Force Base, Purple Heart veterans, women who have served, and a wall dedicated to local Veteran Groups.

    While the traditional event will not be taking place this year, the monument is open to the public and community members are encouraged to visit at their leisure. The Freedom Monument Veterans Memorial is recognized as a landmark on the Central Coast and provides a poignant reminder that the freedom we enjoy within our community did not come without a significant and terrible price. It is our obligation remember and honor those who made the ultimate sacrifice.