A small crowd of community members, police officers and volunteers for the Capitola Police Department gathered on Monday morning in front of the City Hall for a Memorial Day celebration.
Mayor Michael Termini and Sgt. Matt Eller both addressed the crowd before joining them to mill around, eat fruit and keep things light hearted with lots of smiles and endless jokes. It was, if you can believe it, a beautiful sunny morning in Capitola.
A local veteran, Mike Banks, who served in the Air Force for 34 years, summed up the spirit of the celebration best:
"Memorial Day is traditionally a day to honor those who serve our country as well as those who have fallen.
But in Capitola we also honor the police and fire and first responders, the ones that died protecting as well as the ones that are still here helping out, and risking their lives," said Banks.
Over the course of his Air Force career, which spanned from 1958 to 1992, Banks served in many jobs, including going to Vietnam six times and flying a U2 plane, which Mayor Termini explained as a super stealthy "high elevation, stratospheric spy plane."
The crowd also included Anna Marie Gotti, who was , as well as Ben Irao and Oscar Valdez, who have been working for the city since 1985 and 1987 respectively.
A handful of Capitola's devoted Volunteers in Policing (V.I.P.) came to show their support as well. The V.I.P's help out with many different duties, from senior welfare checks to barricades at Capitola's annual festivals, to ride-alongs with police officers.
"I wish more people would get involved in it," said volunteer Roger Welsh. "It's just a lot of fun."
They even have an electric car.