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Members of the UCLA NROTC salute during playing of taps during UCLA’s annual Veterans Day Memorial Ceremony on November 9, 2011 in Los Angeles, California. The annual ceremony was held to honor members of the Bruin family who have fought in the nation's wars.
The holiday weekend is packed with parades, ceremonies and performances thanking veterans for their service to the country. In addition, museums, restaurants and other places are offering special deals for those who have served or are on active duty. A few are even offering the deals to civilians.
We've compiled some highlights of events and deals in the Southland. All that's left is deciding what you want to do this Veterans Day weekend to honor those who defend the country.
First Annual GI Film Festival Hollywood
Where: The Los Angeles Film School, 6363 Sunset Boulevard, Hollywood, CA 90028
When: Nov. 9 - 10, 2012; Fri. 7 p.m. - 10 p.m., Sat. 12:30 p.m. - 11 p.m.
What: The event will feature several film premieres, Q&A discussions and networking opportunities with celebrities and industry executives. Proceeds from an auction will benefit both the GI Film Festival and the Semper Fi Fund, which provides financial support to wounded Marines and their families. (Film festival admission prices start at $12 per person. Military service members and veterans receive a 50% discount.)
San Fernando Valley Veterans Day Parade
Where: Begins at the corner of Laurel Canyon and San Fernando Mission boulevards in Mission Hills.
When: Nov. 11, 2012; parade begins at 11:11 a.m.
What: One of several parades in the region. The procession has involved more than 120 veterans groups and numerous high school marching bands, plus the San Diego-based Navy Band Southwest. Veterans from all wars will be represented, including some from WWII and Operation Enduring Freedom (Afghanistan). There will also be a carnival at the Ritchie Valens Recreation Center, where the parade route ends, 10731 Laurel Canyon Boulevard, Pacoima, CA.
"Nisei Soldiers Break Their Silence" book presentation at The Japanese American National Museum
Where: 369 East First Street, Los Angeles, California 90012
When: Nov. 11, 2012; 2 p.m. - 4 p.m.
What: Linda Tamura, whose father was a veteran of WWII, conducted extensive oral histories with the veterans, their families, and members of the community. She had access to hundreds of recently uncovered letters and documents from the private files of a local veterans' group that led a campaign against Japanese-American soldiers serving in the U.S. military. (Free for museum members and non-members must pay the museum admission fee. Reservations are required for all programs. 213-625-0414.)
Patriotic Songs by The Girls Next Door
Where: 2002 N. Main St., Santa Ana, CA 92706
When: Nov. 11, 2012; 2 p.m. - 3 p.m.
What: The vocal a cappella trio The Girls Next Door perform patriotic songs and military tunes from the Big Band Era, interspersed with dialogue, and dressed in period costume along the style of the Andrews Sisters. (Free admission to the concert. Must pay admission to enter the museum.)
The Blue & The Grey: 12th Annual Civil War Reenactment
Where: Tierra Rejada Ranch behind Underwood Farms; 3370 Sunset Valley Road, Moorpark, CA 93021
When: Nov. 10-11, 2012; Sat. 10 a.m. - 6 p.m., Sun. 10 a.m. - 4 p.m.
What: Watch the Moorpark Rotary Club's reenactment of a Civil War battle, interact with Union and Confederate encampments and visit the general store. There's also a food court. (Admission is $17 for adults, $12 for students, children 5 & under are free.)
The New York Tenors at Cerritos Center for the Performing Arts
Where: 12700 Center Court Drive South, Cerritos, CA 90703
When: Nov. 11, 2012; 7 p.m. - 9 p.m.
What: Celebrate Veterans Day with a patriotic performance by The New York Tenors, filled with music from opera, film and Broadway classics. The group includes NYC police officer Daniel Rodriguez, who comforted a grieving America in the aftermath of the 9/11 terrorist attacks with his stirring rendition of “God Bless America.” (Tickets range from $30-$65.)
Veterans Appreciation Festival at the USS Iowa Battleship Museum
Where: 250 S. Harbor Blvd., Berth 87, San Pedro, CA
When: Nov. 10, 2012; 1 p.m. - 4 p.m.
What: In recognition of Veterans Day, Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and City Councilman Joe Buscaino will host the first-ever Veterans Appreciation Festival. (Veterans and their families can tour the USS Iowa, free of charge.)
Veterans Day Ceremony at Forest Lawn cemetery
Where: 6300 Forest Lawn Drive, Los Angeles, CA 90068
When: Nov. 11, 2012; 11 a.m. - 12 p.m.
What: Held outside on the lawn in front of the Birth of Liberty mosaic, the 53rd Annual Veterans Day program will feature notable guest speakers, music, souvenirs for all attendees and an aerial performance by the Golden Stars Skydiving Team. (Free admission and free ice cream for those in attendance.)
Veterans Day at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library
Where: 40 Presidential Drive, Simi Valley, CA
When: Nov. 11-12, 2012; 10 a.m. - 5 p.m.
What: On Monday: A vintage fighter plane flyover by the Condor Squadron at 10:30 a.m.; music by the Santa Susana High School Symphony Orchestra and Vocal Ensembles at 10:45 a.m.; remarks by retired Marine Lt. Col. James Zumwalt, who served in the Vietnam War and Desert Storm, 11 a.m. (Veterans Day activities are free; museum admission rates apply to view the exhibits. Veterans with valid ID receive free admission to exhibits on Sunday and Monday.)
Veterans Day in the City of Santa Clarita
Where: Veterans Historical Plaza; 24275 N. Walnut St., Santa Clarita, CA
When: Nov. 11, 2012; begins at 11 a.m.
What: Event includes a reading in honor of soldiers missing in action and prisoners of war; a changing of flags ceremony, patriotic music and speeches honoring veterans for their military service.
Veterans Day in Simi Valley
Where: Veterans Plaza at Rancho Tapo Community Park, 3700 Avenida Simi, Simi Valley, CA
When: Nov. 11, 2012; 11 a.m.
What: The lives of Staff Sgt. Andrew Britton-Mihalo (Afghanistan), Cpl. John Bruce Junior (World War I) and Aviation Ordnanceman Henry "Hank" Calderon (World War II) will be remembered. Keynote address will be by military journalist, Marc Phillip Yablonka.
War Stories at The Federal Bar
Where: 5303 Lankershim Blvd., North Hollywood, CA 91601
When: Nov. 11, 2012; 7 p.m. - 9 p.m.
What: The New Short Fiction Series presents "War Stories," an anthology of new fiction by Veterans including Gentle Culpepper, Sally Drumm, Eric Forrester and Thomas Patchell. The event is being put on in part with the cooperation of the MilSpeak Foundation, a nonprofit that raises awareness about creative works by military people in American culture. ($10-$12 in advance, $15 same day and cash only at the door.)
Where: Any Applebee's location
When: Nov. 11, 2012; 11 a.m. - 12 a.m.
What: Veterans and active-duty military personnel can get a free signature meal from this menu, with proof of service or military ID.
Angeles National Forest
Where: 701 N Santa Anita Ave., Arcadia, CA 91006
When: Nov. 11-13, 2012
What: Angeles National Forest will offer any visitor a “Fee Free” Veterans Day weekend. The normally required National Forest Adventure Pass will be waived.
Veterans Day at the Aquarium of the Pacific
Where: 100 Aquarium Way, Long Beach, CA 90802
When: Nov. 11, 2012; 9 a.m. - 5 p.m.
What: Free admission for veterans, military personnel, police officers, and firefighters with service ID.
Here's a list of even more deals for veterans and active-duty military personnel.