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City offers vets free parking

OCEANSIDE — As a way to thank our military, City Council unanimously voted Oct. 3 to allow free parking for veterans with special recognition license plates at all city meters and pay parking lots. 

Sandra Silva Fichter, vice president of the Veteran Association of North County, gave the city kudos for its continuing recognition of military men and women.

“It’s a very nice thank you and recognition from the entire city for their service,” Fichter said. “To receive that honor they performed an out of the ordinary level of service.”

“The City Council makes a continuous effort to recognize and to thank the veteran community more any other city,” Fichter added. “They have gone out of their way to do anything they can to help the military and veteran community. It’s always a unanimous decision on every veteran issue that comes up.”

Veterans with special recognition plates do not receive special parking privileges statewide.

Specific programs honor veterans.

Honorably discharged war veterans with a service-connected disability and those who were prisoners of war are eligible for the Distinguished Veteran Pass that allows them to visit California State Parks free of charge.

Oceanside took hold of the idea of honoring veterans by giving them special privileges and applied it to city parking.

“I think it’s a simple way to acknowledge and reward their service,” Councilman Jack Feller said.

“It’s a very simple, very, very visible way to recognize special veterans,” Fichter said. “It’s a reminder also to put out to the public that we need to say thank you.”

Veterans need to apply for special recognition plates through the DMV.

They include recognition for Congressional Medal of Honor, Gold Star Family, Legion of Valor, Pearl Harbor Survivor, Ex-Prisoner of War and Purple Heart.

“They are a special honor and pretty hard to get,” Mayor Jim Wood said.