Petaluma citizens honor veterans with emotional parade

Veterans of all ages gathered in Petaluma and were honored by the community. People took to the streets this week, not in protest, but with tears in their eyes.

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When asked why she was crying Julie Sakahill, a Coast Guard wife said, "Because they sacrificed so much for us, just to have our freedom and they are not recognized enough."

The veterans are what brought Sakahill to the Petaluma Veterans Day parade. Petaluma is 38 miles north of San Francisco and 42 miles north of Oakland. After a week of angst about this nation's future, Petaluma honored those who served their country in the past.

"I like the old days," said Fred Bollinger of Sebastopol. "They were quiet...I used to stand the hill and yodel."

For the record, this is no small parade. Petaluma bills this parade as the largest Veterans day gathering North of San Francisco.

It is an event of poignant moments.

Larry Betretti is Sonoma County's last known Pearl Harbor survivor. His nephews Gret and Gary love and honor him as they would their own, passed father. Larry doesn't talk much about the war, they told us.

They say it's because of too many bad memories.

Friday he got a new, fresh memory. Many people in Petaluma took the time to make him and many other veterans feel special.
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