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Marin Veterans Day ceremony to feature former Navy pilot

Marin Independent Journal - 11/7/2023

Nov. 7—A former Navy pilot who served in the Vietnam War will be the keynote speaker at Marin County's annual Veterans Day commemoration on Saturday.

Rick Saber, the commander of Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 7816 in Novato, is a San Francisco native who remained in the reserves for 11 years after his active duty service. He went on to fly for United Airlines for 35 years and served 17 years in the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary.

The Marin County United Veterans Council is organizing the event. It is scheduled for 9 a.m. at the military monuments along Avenue of the Flags in San Rafael.

Glenn Ross, president of the Marin County United Veterans Council, also will speak at the ceremony. Singers Alicia Elkin and Kaylie Edwards and the Las Gallinas Valley Sanitary District Non-Marching Band will perform. The event also will include an honor guard presentation, a closing prayer, taps and free coffee and donuts.

Ross said he is enthusiastic about Saber delivering the keynote address, especially because they have a military post in common.

"I'm really excited to hear him speak," Ross said. "And I'm really excited for the program we put together this year."

In addition to honoring those who served, Ross said, Veterans Day ceremonies are essential teaching moments for younger children who might not understand why they have the day off from school. He said the recognition is important at the local, county, state and national levels.

"Veterans Day comes with an educational opportunity," he said. "And for the community to see a bunch of veterans gathered in one place, people might feel more comfortable going up to one and chatting, talking with them."

Sean Stephens, the veterans service officer with the Marin County Department of Health and Human Services, said Saber is a familiar face in the veterans community.

"I've known him for quite a while," Stephens said. "He's a great community member and a lot of veterans know him."

Stephens said Veterans Day celebrations are especially important as conflicts rage in Ukraine and the Middle East.

"Every year we have so many great people turn out to Veterans Day celebrations," he said. "It's great to see people, face to face, come out and celebrate those who have served and are still serving."

Event organizers noted that construction is underway at the Marin Veterans Memorial Auditorium and the Marin Center parking lot. Visitors are advised to park at the Marin County Employees' Retirement Association office at 1 McInnis Parkway. There will also be street parking. Passenger dropoffs are not permitted near the monuments on Avenue of the Flags.

An estimated 12,000 veterans live in Marin and services to veterans are offered by the Marin County Department of Health and Human Services.

The Veterans Services Office provides assistance to veterans who are applying for health care, filing pension claims and seeking federal benefits. The office is at 10 N. San Pedro Road in San Rafael. More information is online at MarinHHS.org/veterans-services.

County offices will be closed Friday in observance of Veterans Day.

IJ reporter Cameron Macdonald contributed to this report.

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(c)2023 The Marin Independent Journal (Novato, Calif.)

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