Veterans Day, honoring all who have served in the U.S. armed forces, will be observed Wednesday and beyond with a parade, prayers, special programs and even free meals.
The Veterans Day Parade in Modesto starts at 9:30 a.m. at 10th and O streets and follows Needham Street to Graceada Park, where a Veterans Day program will begin at 10:30. Signs will go up Tuesday where parking is not permitted along the parade route and at the staging area. There will be disabled parking across from Park and Needham streets near 14th Street.
The parade grand marshals are three World War II veterans – Manuel “Skip” Machado, Frank Machado (no relation) and Sam Satariano – who will be honored by having their stories shared at the park.
Navy veteran Skip Machado served on the USS Enterprise, the most decorated ship in World War II, as a lookout and manning a 20-millimeter gun. A recipient of the bronze star 15 times, he saw action at Iwo Jima, Okinawa, Marshall Islands, the Gilbert Islands, the Leyte Gulf and Luzon.
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Frank Machado went into the Navy on his 17th birthday in June 1943. He was stationed in the Mariana Islands, had stops in Saipan and Tinian and stayed in the Pacific for 18 months. After his discharge in May 1946, he entered the Navy Reserves and served for 23 more years.
Satariano was a pilot in the Army Air Corps and served in England with the famed 379th Bomb Group. His B-17 was the Lady Godiva, in which he flew 25 bombing missions. Satariano received the Air Medal with four bronze stars and the Flying Cross with two bronze stars.
The Graceada Park event also includes naming of the Stanislaus County Veteran of the Year: Becky Crow, American Legion member and executive director of the Veterans Foundation of Stanislaus County. Also on the program are a rifle salute by an honor guard at 11:11 a.m. and a performance by the Modesto Junior College band. About 25 information and food booths will be set up in the park.
For additional information, contact Crow, who is the Veterans Day Parade chairwoman, at 209-484-7166.
Here’s a look at some of what else is happening in area communities:
▪ “Always Appreciate,” a tribute to local Veterans of Foreign Wars posts, will be held at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday at the Revival Center, Seventh and I streets. It will include gifts to all service members who attend and a prayer given for Gold Star mothers and fathers, as well as POWs and their families. For more information, call Jeremiah Williams at 209-568-3096 or 209-522-5365.
▪ The State Theatre is showing the documentary “Of Man and War” on Wednesday at 7 p.m., with discounted admission for veterans. The two-hour, 22-minute film follows the recovery efforts of 12 veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder. According to the State, “Director Laurent Bécue-Renard exposes veterans’ experiences in a never-before-seen manner, gaining unprecedented access to their lives at home and intense therapy sessions.” Tickets are $10 general, $5 for veterans with valid ID.
▪ Downey High School will host its first Veterans Walk fundraiser to support local Veterans of Foreign Wars chapters. The walk will be from noon until about 2 p.m. The funds raised will support two therapeutic programs for the treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder: The Modesto Vet Center RC Flying Club and Rivers of Healing, a fishing program. To learn more, contact Kermit Albritton at 209-272-2756 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
▪ The Texas Roadhouse, Golden Corral and IHOP restaurants in Modesto are offering veterans a free meal on Wednesday.
Between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. at Texas Roadhouse, 3037 Sisk Road, vets can choose one of 10 entrees, including a 6-ounce sirloin and two sides, plus a choice of beverage. Proof of service includes military or VA card, or discharge papers.
Golden Corral, at McHenry and Union avenues, will serve a free dinner buffet with beverage from 5 to 9 p.m. to any veteran. State and local Disabled American Veterans representatives will be at all Golden Corral locations coordinating the collection of donations. For more information on Military Appreciation Night, visit www.goldencorral.com/military.
IHOP restaurants in Modesto, Turlock and Manteca will give veterans a free stack of Red, White & Blue pancakes. The buttermilk pancakes crowned with glazed strawberries, blueberry compote and whipped topping will be served to veterans and active-duty military personnel between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m.
▪ The city will host the rededication of the historic War Memorial cannon and honor local veterans Wednesday. The newly installed display is in Central Park, 115 S. Golden State Blvd. Mayor Gary Soiseth and Rep. Jeff Denham will lead the event, scheduled to begin at 11:30 a.m. The Pitman High School band will perform.
The city retained ownership of the cannon with the sale of the War Memorial and former police facility to the Turlock Irrigation District. A community vetting process in conjunction with the city’s Parks, Arts and Recreation Commission was used to determine the design and new location of the public memorial.
The 105 mm howitzer weighs more than 5,000 pounds and is 19 feet long.
▪ On Friday, Capt. Charlie Plumb will speak at Covenant Village of Turlock about survival and dealing with life’s challenges and opportunities at Covenant Village. His talk is scheduled for 1 p.m.
Plumb, a graduate of the Naval Academy at Annapolis, flew F-4 Phantom jets on 74 combat missions over Vietnam. On his 75th mission, with only five days before he was to return home, Plumb was shot down, captured, tortured and imprisoned, according to a news release from Covenant Village. During his nearly six years of captivity, he distinguished himself among fellow prisoners as a professional in underground communications, and served for two of these years as the chaplain in his camp.
▪ Free train rides will be offered to veterans and active-duty military personnel Wednesday at Railtown 1897 State Historic Park. Those visitors are encouraged to wear their uniforms while enjoying a ride behind locomotive No. 1265, a 1952 former Army diesel that last served at the Riverbank Army Ammunition Plant. They must show current military ID or proof of discharge.
A ceremony will be held at 11 a.m. at South Park/Veterans Park. Hosted by American Legion Post 168 and its Women’s Auxiliary, the event will include Boy Scout troops and American Heritage Girls. To learn more, call 209-690-7222.
Rep. Jeff Denham, R-Turlock, will honor Korean War Veterans with an Ambassador for Peace medal ceremony at 3 p.m. Wednesday in collaboration with Han Dong-man, consul general of the South Korea in San Francisco. The Ambassador for Peace medal is bestowed in appreciation from the people of South Korea for those who served in the Korean War. The medal will be awarded to living veterans, as well as posthumously to family members.
The ceremony will include remarks from the consul general, the singing of “The Star-Spangled Banner,” an honor guard, taps and a benediction. To learn more, call Denham’s Modesto office at 209-579-5458.