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Petaluma hosts Veterans Day parade

Sonoma County kept up their annual military tradition of celebrating the Veteran's Day parade.
November 11, 2010 11:01:14 PM PST
Sonoma County's annual military tradition -- the Veteran's Day parade -- rolled through Petaluma Thursday. There were big crowds and marching bands that hit the streets at Fourth and "D" and in Walnut Park. The parade also went through downtown and ended up along Petaluma Boulevard. There were hundreds of parade goers and private donors paid $12,000 in city costs, including police and street closures.

If Norman Rockwell, the American artist, had been alive and in Petaluma today, he would have liked what he saw.

"I have come from small towns in America, but this one does it best," said Petaluma resident Louise Franco.

This event is just one more tradition in an agricultural small town grown large that never lost touch with its red, white, and blue roots.

"I was born in 1938, so it was already the Armistice Day Parade," said Petaluma resident Etta Marie Peterson.

If you saw this in a movie, you'd think it was too good to be true, but this as the reality that lined Kentucky Street. There were high school bands, families, kids, and the parents of kids who are overseas serving overseas right now. Thanks to businessman Bill Friedman, there were free flags for anyone who wanted one -- a along with soldiers to remember.

"It's flags because it's a day to remember," said Friedman.

"Well I like it because I can celebrate my uncle," said Jenna Hinke. When asked if he was in the parade, she said, "Well, not anymore because he died."

But in Petaluma this year, plenty of survivors remained. There were veterans of Iraq, Afghanistan, Vietnam, Korea, and more.

"I've had this jacket since '43. This is a World War II paratroop jacket. It still fits me. I wear it every year," said World War II paratrooper Donald Clouston.

The North Bay recognized this country's service members and said thanks with American pride on a grand scale.


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