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Thousands turn out for Veterans Day parade in the Valley

November 11, 2013|By James Barragan
  • The Pow-MIA Riders, a motorcycle cub made up of veterans, drive along Laurel Canyon Blvd. during the San Fernando Valley Veterans Day Parade.
The Pow-MIA Riders, a motorcycle cub made up of veterans, drive along Laurel… (Barbara Davidson / Los Angeles…)

More than 3,000 people turned out Monday for the San Fernando Valley Veterans Day Parade, which included a flyover and hundreds of U.S. flags.

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, who serves as a lieutenant in the U.S. Naval Reserve, acted as grand marshal for the parade, which kicked off shortly after 11 a.m. near Pacoima with crowds lined up and waving on either side.

"I come out every year to honor all of them," Rosemary Hernandez said as she clapped and waved. "Some people were luckier to be able to come back and others were not so lucky."

As the parade made its way down Laurel Canyon Boulevard to end at Ritchie Valens Recreation Center, World War II-era planes of the Condor Squadron, based in Van Nuys, flew overhead.

The parade was a draw for the veterans it was meant to honor, some of whom were there to pay tribute to fallen comrades and bygone eras.

Before the start of the parade, Emilio De La Cruz stood on the sidewalk in a red vest and cap that designated him as a veteran of the Marine Corps.

He said he attends the parade "to salute the veterans marching in the parade and those who are not able to march."

He has endured the lingering effects of the defoliant Agent Orange he was exposed to during the Vietnam War and needs the assistance of a walker to get around.

"In spite of whether we're alive or dead, we did it for our country and for those people sitting on the sidewalks," he said.

Cresencio Sanchez was drafted into the Army and deployed to Korea in 1953. He attends the parade every year and wears his Korea veteran cap in hopes of finding other Korea vets with whom to reminisce about "the way things used to be."

"I even take it to the casinos sometimes," he said of his headwear.


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Twitter: @James_Barragan

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