Veterans parade rolls through Petaluma Monday

  • 11/12/2012: A1:
    PC: Ellen Nugent, left, and Marylou Loustalot , Navy WAVES veterans, take part in the Veteran's Day Parade on Sunday, November 11, 2012 in Petaluma, California. (BETH SCHLANKER/ The Press Democrat)

Warbird flyovers and Native American drummers are among the highlights of this year's Petaluma Veterans Parade, the largest holiday salute to America's military north of the Golden Gate Bridge.

Monday's parade — it's always held on Nov. 11 — kicks off at 1 p.m. from Walnut Park on D Street after a noontime musical celebration. After winding through downtown, the parade will end back at the park just before 3 p.m. with an invocation by 96-year-old Pearl Harbor survivor Herb Louden and several speakers.

Organizer Steve Kemmerle of American Legion Post 28 said this year's parade will be the biggest yet with about 200 entrants, many with multiple vehicles. One car club will roll with 30 vehicles and 46 veterans aboard.

2012 Veterans Day Parade


Another entrant will include several dozen Native Americans, whose roles as American soldiers often have been overlooked.

Indians from more than half a dozen tribes from throughout California and Oregon will walk, drum and sing as part of a large contingent, said Terrance Brown of Petaluma, a Vietnam veteran and Karuk Indian.

Brown, or "Chitcus," his Karuk name, will lead the contingent as the medicine man. Members of the Penry family will follow with flags, Brown said. Penry Park in Petaluma is named for Richard Penry, who was awarded the Medal of Honor for rescuing fellow soldiers in the Vietnam War.

A flatbed truck will carry a 21-foot ceremonial redwood dugout canoe with tribal elders in it, Brown said, followed by a trailer with drummers and singers performing war songs.

"It's been a long time since I've seen any Native American veterans (in parades). But our Native Americans have always been reserved; they're not accustomed to being out in the front so much," Brown said.

"It's the opportunity to support our other veterans that have made the ultimate sacrifice."

Weather permitting, the Bay Bombers Squadron of San Rafael will perform a flyover with its members' military planes.

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