Tens of thousands honor veterans at Petaluma parade

Petaluma with its small-town atmosphere held a big-time Veterans Day Parade on Sunday, drawing a crowd of about 30,000 to watch men and women in uniform marching in formation, vintage military vehicles, classic cars and more.

It was punctuated by a crowd-pleasing fly-over of World War II warplanes, which had the crowd craning their necks and shielding their eyes from the sun.

Vintage warplanes


"It is a wonderful opportunity to bring the kids out and celebrate the service of the men and women in the service," said Pat Williams, a Petaluma newcomer who said the parade lived up to its billing. "We were told not to miss it."

The parade has grown steadily since its founding in 1986, with 176 entries and 2,000 participants this year, said Steve Kemmerle, a member of American Legion Post 28 and the parade's coordinator.

"It is a way of thanking the people," said Kemmerle, a Vietnam veteran. "You have past veterans, you have current veterans and, hopefully, you have future veterans."

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