This weekend marks a time for special recognition of men and women who served in the United States military, with government agencies, schools and other institutions honoring Veterans Day on Friday ahead of the official holiday date on Saturday.
Pleasanton kicked off the commemoration early, as usual, by hosting the 21st annual Tri-Valley Veterans Day Parade and Ceremony last Sunday.
Several thousand residents lined Main Street to watch as hundreds of veterans, active service members, elected officials, local organizations and others marched through downtown that afternoon. The parade is always held in advance of the actual holiday so veterans and civic leaders can represent Pleasanton in other celebrations on Veterans Day itself.
The official holiday, of course, is Nov. 11 -- in recognition of Nov. 11, 1918 when the armistice in Germany went into effect to mark the end of major fighting in World War I.
First observed as Armistice Day, the holiday was renamed Veterans Day in 1954 as a day to commemorate all U.S. Armed Forces veterans -- in contrast to Memorial Day, which specifically honors military members who died during their service.
The Pleasanton parade Sunday, which served to honor all veterans, paid special recognition to the contributions of military medics.
Retired Army Brigadier Gen. Jerry Griffin, a Bronze Star recipient who served as a medic and later became a doctor and commanded a combat support hospital, was the parade grand marshal.
And the ceremony later that afternoon included special recognition for Army Spec. Jameson L. Lindskog, a medic from Pleasanton, who was killed in action in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. The post-parade speaker was Command Sgt. Maj. Blaine J. Huston from Camp Parks in Dublin.
Considered the largest observance in Northern California, the downtown event last weekend featured military and veteran colorguards, horses, military vehicles and veterans from Afghanistan, Iraq, Vietnam, Korea and even World War II.
Also among the 100-plus parade entrants were the Alameda County Sheriff's Posse, Girl Scout and Boy Scout troops, marching bands and local veterans support organizations such as California Gold Star Families, Blue Star Moms and Sentinels of Freedom.
Pleasanton's annual Veterans Day showcase was organized and hosted by American Legion Post 237, Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 6298, and the Maj. Gen. William F. Dean Chapter of the Association of the U.S. Army.