Pleasanton Weekly

Arts & Entertainment - November 5, 2010

It's anchors aweigh at Sunday's Veterans Day Parade

This year's event will pay tribute to the Navy

by Dolores Fox Ciardelli

Sailor hats will be the fashion Sunday at the 2010 Tri-Valley Veterans Day Parade that marches up Main Street, and entries include a replica of the USS Pampanito submarine.

The parade theme is "America's Navy: A Global Force for Good," with Grand Marshal Commander John Molinari, the new naval command officer for the U.S. Navy West Coast Support Group in San Jose. This year's riderless horse, which represents those lost in battle, will be led by Navy personnel.

"We're going to have about 100 units again," said Dave Hamm of Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 6298 in Pleasanton.

These will include veterans from the V.A. Medical Facility in Livermore, some in wheelchairs, as well as military support groups such as the Blue Star Moms and Pleasanton Military Families. And military vehicles will have a starring role.

"We're going to have a submarine in the parade this year, a replica of the USS Pampanito from World War II, which is sitting in the Bay in San Francisco," Hamm said. "It's coming up from Moffett Field, arriving that morning.

"We hope to have a 'buffalo' -- that's a military vehicle for Desert Storm and Iraq," he continued, "and there will be at least one Gold Star Family."

The Patriot Sentinel Riders will be astride their motorcycles, all waving the red, white and blue, and Scout troops will march.

"What's really special is that we make contributions to the Boy Scouts and Pleasanton Junior Football League and they give back," Ham said. "They help us in so many ways. They put signs on vehicles, signs along the street, hand out American flags along the route." Balloons will also be handed out.

The Foothill High School marching band will participate as will the Young American Patriots Fife & Drum Corps.

"The Star Wars vehicle out of San Francisco is coming," Ham said. "They dress up like storm troopers, and that day they'll carry American flags."

The organizers also are focusing on collecting Toys for Tots, a special mission of the U.S. Marine Corps. Members of the P-Town Pushrods car club are working with the Marines and setting up boxes along the parade route to collect unwrapped toys to be given out to children in need during the holidays.

"Boy, is it needed this year," noted Ham.

Immediately following the parade everyone is invited to gather for a ceremony at the Veterans Memorial Building. The keynote speaker will be Admiral Jud Scott of the U.S. Navy who will talk on "Honoring our Veterans." Uncle Sam, aka Ward Belding, will sing "The Star-Spangled Banner."

VFW Post 6298 sponsors the Veterans Day Parade every year. It also holds drop-in coffees from 7:30-9 a.m. every Saturday morning for veterans, or for anyone interested. And planning will begin soon for next year's Veterans Day celebration.

"We start planning the day after the parade," said Ham.

One decision is the theme for the following year. Hamm said Rosie the Riveter was an especially popular theme a few years ago because they found several "Rosies" to participate. Last year the celebration paid special tribute to the U.S. Marine Corps.

Honoring our veterans

What: 2010 Tri-Valley Veterans Day Parade

Where: Main Street Pleasanton, from Old Bernal Avenue to St. Mary's Street

When: 1 p.m., Sunday, Nov. 7

Theme: America's Navy: A Global Force for Good

Ceremony: Veterans Memorial Building, 301 Main St., immediately following the parade

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