Santa Paula Times

Armed Forces Banners: Some retired, new names to be honored

August 20, 2010
Santa Paula News

It was February when some banners honoring those on active military duty were retired and others put up for display, and next week seven more members of the armed forces will be honored.

According to Deputy City Clerk Peggy Higgins, the Armed Forces Military Banner ceremony will be held Wednesday, August 25 at 11 a.m. at the Gazebo, located in Railroad Plaza at Santa Barbara and Mill streets.

Higgins said 10 banners will be retired: “Some of these were released from the military,” while other displays have become weathered and worn.

There is a waiting list of about 25 names for banner display.

Mayor Jim Tovias will oversee the ceremony where the names of those with new as well as retired banners will be read read. The ceremonies - launched by the City Council in December 2007 after Councilman Bob Gonzales, who had seen similar tributes in the City of Walnut, suggested the honor - have become a community tradition.

Santa Paula’s program was among only a handful in the state and the first in Ventura County. Subsequently the program was adopted by other cities.

Higgins said the Santa Paula Armed Forces Banner program has quite a following, including local residents Shirley and Bob Hargarten who, like others, have never missed a presentation. “The Hargartens have sponsored two banners,” said Higgins, honoring their grandsons in the military.

The August 25 ceremony will include a presentation by the Mercer-Prieto VFW Post; and Higgins is hoping active service members will attend in uniform, especially those being honored with a banner. “We would love to have them make some brief remarks,” she noted.

Currently the city has 54 banners strung on vintage looking utility standards and displayed along 10th and other streets. Those whose banners are removed because of weathering can replace the banner - decorated with an American eagle against a flag backdrop and bearing the name and rank of those honored - at a cost of $125.

New banners, said Higgins, are free of charge, although donations are accepted. For more information call Higgins at 933-4208.