Thousands are expected to gather along Main Street in Pleasanton starting at 1 p.m. today for the 13th Annual Tri-Valley Veterans Day Parade, and then join in the ceremony that follows at the Veterans Memorial Building downtown.
A "Toys for Tots" drive will be conducted during the parade by the Marines and the Pleasanton P-Town Pushrod Car Club, with collection baskets along the parade route for those who can contribute to needy children.
This year's theme will be a tribute to those serving in the U.S. Marines, according to David Ham of the VFW Pleasanton Post 6298. Called "The Devil Dogs," the parade will begin at 1 p.m., with units forming on Old Bernal Avenue before marching north on Main Street.
Leading the parade as grand marshal will be Sgt. Richard Pittman, who received the U.S. Congressional Medal of honor for risking his life to disrupt an enemy attack on his unit in Vietnam, saving the lives of many of his wounded comrades.
The parade will feature nearly 100 units, including military, veterans and police color guards, making it the largest parade in Alameda County. In addition, military veteran units, military institutes, cadets, Scouts and even a Huey helicopter will pass in review.
The review stand will be located in front of the Museum on Main, with Army Gen. Dan Helix and Marine Col. Chris Buescher serving as the official reviewing officers.
The Veterans Day ceremony will start immediately after the parade at the Veterans Memorial Building, with patriotic music to be provided by the Pleasanton Community Concert Band, under the direction of Bob Williams.
The featured speakers will be Medal of Honor winner Pittman and Congressman Jerry McNerney (D-Pleasanton). Other speakers will include Mayors Jennifer Hosterman of Pleasanton and Marshall Kamena of Livermore.
Doug Miller, commander of VFW Post 6298, will offer the welcoming address, with Alameda County Supervisor Scott Haggerty reading a proclamation from the county Board of Supervisors.
The annual event is sponsored by VFW Post 6298 and Pleasanton's American Legion Post 237.