Bay Area Veterans Day events


In Hayward, festivities kicked off at 8 a.m. with a flag-raising ceremony, which was followed by the city's annual parade at 11 a.m.

Parade participants were to include U.S. Rep. Barbara Lee, Hayward Mayor Mike Sweeney, members of the Alameda County Board of Supervisors, three members of the Tuskegee Airmen, who were the country's first black military airmen, and others.

Mark Chandler, spokesman for the Alameda County Veterans Affairs Commission, said the annual parade pays homage to those who have served their country while informing the community of the high number of veterans in the Hayward area.

In San Francisco, the St. Anthony Foundation was handing out gift bags to veterans this morning. The bags included socks, chocolate, energy bars, rain panchos and tea.

Foundation spokeswoman Francis Aviani said today's event also aimed to inform veterans of services and programs for which they are eligible, and to connect people with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

Veterans make up nearly a quarter of the homeless population in the country and there are approximately 2,075 homeless veterans in San Francisco, according to the foundation.

Officials from Veterans Affairs were on site this morning to talk about the award of more than 100 housing vouchers through the Housing and Urban Development-Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing Program.

The non-profit organization Avenue of Flags held a Veterans Day observance and discussion of veteran entitlements late this morning at the Golden Gate National Cemetery's Chapel in San Bruno.

Speakers were scheduled to discuss how to access veteran entitlements and navigate through Veterans Affairs.

At about 5 p.m., a group is expected to congregate for a peace vigil on a Lafayette hillside across from the city's Bay Area Rapid Transit station.

The event will be held on private property where about 4,100 crosses have been erected to memorialize soldiers who have died in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Jeff Heaton, lead organizer of the event, said tonight's ceremony is being held in support of the troops and to remind the community that men and women are still making sacrifices in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Bay Area residents Karen Meredith and Nadia McCaffrey, who each lost a son in the war in Iraq, are scheduled to speak at tonight's event.

Today marks the two-year anniversary of the crosses on the Lafayette hillside.

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