Modesto will lead the valley and foothills with two Veterans Day celebrations this weekend plus a dinner Sunday night honoring American Legion Post 74's Citizens of the Year.
The Legion will honor a married couple for the first time, John and June Rogers of Hughson.
The city's traditional Veterans Day Parade will begin at 10 a.m. Sunday and end at the Stanislaus County Courthouse.
Legion Cmdr. Ruby Brawley invited veterans to join the parade. She said parade participants will assemble at 9 a.m. at 10th and F streets.
The parade route will start at 10th and F, go down 10th to J Street, then to 11th Street and back to I Street, ending in front of the courthouse. The 45-minute procession will end with ceremonies at 11:11 a.m., commemorating when the World War I armistice was signed.
Brawley asked people to remember to show proper respect when the U.S. flag passes by during the parade. "It's proper for a veteran to salute, whether they are in uniform or not," she said. "Civilians should place their (right) hand over their heart."
As well as marching in the parade, veterans can ride their motorcycles. For information, call Kenneth Cummings at 535-5169.
The second half of Modesto's celebration will be at the Gallo Center for the Arts, beginning at 2 p.m.
"Honor the Heroes" will be held in the Rogers Theater. Coordinator Steve Trapp said he doesn't want to forget the fallen, but the emphasis this year is on the living.
A cast of 200 will honor veterans with highlights that include:
- The Johansen High School marching band
Maj. Gen. William Wade, commander of California's National Guard, will be on hand along with Coast Guard Rear Adm. Michael Seward. Trapp also expected a representative from the governor's office to attend.
Tickets are $3 to the 90-minute celebration at the Gallo Center.
American Legion Post 74 will follow with a dinner Sunday night to recognize the newly named Citizens of the Year. Formerly it's been called the Man of the Year, although women have won the award.
Rep. Dennis Cardoza, D- Merced, will be on hand to honor John and June Rogers with a special presentation. Assemblyman Tom Berryhill, R-Modesto, and state Sen. Dave Cogdill, R-Modesto, also will honor the couple.
Al Menshew, past commander at the post and chairman of the dinner, said, "It is seldom that you get to honor people so deserving who have done so much for so many."
John Rogers retired as a colonel from the Air Force in 1989. He and his wife, June, have been involved in charity work for decades. They have volunteered at the Red Cross and also helped fund many worthy endeavors through the family's Mary Stuart Rogers Foundation.
They have helped programs that feed and house the homeless and that built the Gallo Center for the Arts.
Among the many local institutions and organizations they have assisted are the Boy Scouts; Townsend Opera Players; United Samaritans Foundation; Central West Ballet; California State University, Stanislaus; and Catholic Charities.
John and June Rogers join 59 other honorees since 1949. Those previously recognized include former Modesto Mayor Lee Davies, winemaker Julio Gallo, legendary World War I veteran Joe Byrne and educator Peter Johansen.
The social hour is at 6 p.m. and dinner will be served at 7. The program begins at 8. Tickets are $10 at the door.
Bee staff writer Roger W. Hoskins can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 578-2311.