>Happy Birthday, San Francisco!

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Anza and soldados

Most Americans with half a brain in their heads know the year 1776 was a very important one to our nation’s history. What most people probably don’t know, and specifically most in California, is that another event occurred that same year, just a week before the signing of the Declaration of Independence.

On June 27, 1776 the Anza expedition arrived at what is now the San Francisco Presidio. Two of my ancestors were Spanish soldiers on that trek and they, along with their families, were present at the founding. From this small northern outpost, as well as the Mission Dolores, grew the City by the Bay.

Over the course of time, the Presidio has changed hands. Now, it’s a national park. If you haven’t visited this place, I suggest you put it on your list whenever you visit San Francisco. Little remains of the Spaniards, but it’s still an interesting place rich in history. Heck, George Lucas has even invaded the place.

SAR, Amigos de Anza Drill Team and re-enactors

For the past 25 years, the Los Californianos organization has put on a ceremony to honor our ancestors. The year I went, the Sons of the American Revolution were in attendance as well as members of Amigos de Anza Equestrian Drill Team. It was one of those rare non-foggy, warm San Francisco days. We sat near the main flag pole in Pershing Square, with a gorgeous view of the Bay as the Golden Gate Bridge peeked from above the eucalyptus trees while a breeze danced through the drill teams flags. People in period dress roamed the grassy square. A re-enactor, dressed as Anza, gave a speech. The names of those present at the founding were read, and their descendants presented flowers in their honor.

Flower ceremony by Los Californianos

My heart has always been in San Francisco. I didn’t leave it there. It just won’t go anywhere else because obviously my roots in California are so deep. So, if you are looking for a reason to celebrate, today is San Francisco Presidio Day or San Francisco’s Birthday. Unfortunately, due the equine virus scare and various other unforeseen circumstances, the founding ceremony has been cancelled this year. However, I will still take the time to raise a glass in honor of my ancestors.

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