Chris Smith: Petaluma's renowned Veterans Day parade recalls tough time in Vietnam

By On November 05, 2018

Chris Smith: Petaluma's renowned Veterans Day parade recalls tough time in Vietnam

At Petaluma’s reliably stirring and reverent Veterans Day parade on Sunday, two Vietnam combat vets will ride as grand marshals, a third ’Nam vet will speak and a Huey chopper, an icon of the Southeast Asia war, will rumble overhead.

The 2018 parade coincides with the 50th anniversary of 1968’s Tet Offensive by North Vietnamese and Viet Cong forces. The synchronized swarm of surprise attacks persuaded venerable newsman Walter Cronkite and many other Americans that the time had come for the U.S. to end the war.

The parade, to step off from central Petaluma’s Walnut Park at 1 p.m. Sunday, will honor as grand marshals Vietnam veterans Terry Park and Ken Vabkar. Park served 30 years with the National Guard and Vabkar was a battlefield dog handler awarded a Bronze Star.

As always, the parade through the heart of Petaluma will be followed by a program in Walnut Park.

Among the featured speakers: Vietnam veteran Gary Greenough and sculptor Susan Bahary, renowned for her statues of service animals such as the decorated World War I canine hero, Sgt. Stubby.


IF YOU’RE A VETERAN or are close to one, you might inquire at your favorite restaurant if there will be a free or special meal for vets either on Sunday or on Monday.

There’s no need to ask at either location of Santa Rosa’s beloved Sam’s For Play Cafe.

From 6 to 11 a.m. on Monday, Sam Anker and her son, Troy, will treat vets to their Busy Body Breakfast: Two eggs with ham, bacon or sausage, spuds and a biscuit, bagel, English muffin or toast.


NONVIOLENCE, you may know, has its own day in Santa Rosa. And that day is Friday.

Members of MOVES, or Minimizing Occurrences of Violence in Everyday Society, will host a Day of Nonviolence and awards luncheon at 11:45 a.m. Friday at Osake Restaurant near Montgomery Villag e.

MOVES will present its annual peace awards to YWCA Sonoma County and to the county’s Family Justice Center.

Lunch is $27. If you’d like to attend, please call 707-524-1900.


FIRST, AND LAST, MEAL: This past Sunday, Mike and Sue Luna of Rohnert Park woke up hankering for breakfast out.

Mike accessed the Internet and searched “breakfast Santa Rosa.” Lickety-split, the wedding and party DJ was reading about a spot that sparked his interest: the Worth Our Weight culinary apprentice cafe in Montgomery Village.

Mike and Sue walked in unaware that Sunday was Worth Our Weight’s last day.

The couple savored the scones that came with the coffee. They ordered huevos rancheros.

WOW Cafe founder Evelyn Cheatham stopped at their table and spoke with them about the at-risk young people who for more than a decade prepared for food-service careers there, and about how patronage and applications by prospective apprentices plummeted af ter the 2017 wildfires.

Evelyn mentioned that she needed some kitchen help for that last day of operation, so she called on one of her chef friends. The Lunas learned who prepared their breakfast: celebrity and Zazu Kitchen & Farm chef Duskie Estes.

Mike and Sue cleaned their plates, took it all in. Mike’s last word was, and I quote, “Wow.”

Source: Google News Vietnam | Netizen 24 Vietnam

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