MERCED -- A display of gratitude for the sacrifices of the nation's military men and women will take place in downtown Merced on Sunday, as thousands are expected to gather for the 2012 Merced County Veterans Day Parade.
The opening ceremony is scheduled to take place in Bob Hart Square at noon, with the parade scheduled to begin at 1 p.m. The parade route will proceed along West Main Street, between G and O streets.
Jim Kanabay of the county's Veterans Service Office, which is one of the groups organizing the parade, said that between 3,000 and 4,000 people are expected to attend this year.
During the event, parade organizers are to present plaques to several honored veterans, including Korean War Army veteran Fred Runnells, World War II Army Air Corps veteran B.A. Hansen, Vietnam War veterans and brothers Carlos and Adolpho Ramirez, and Iraq War Army veterans Staff Sgt. Juan Polino and Staff Sgt. Jason Young.
"(Veterans) make a lot of sacrifices that are seen and unseen. And this is our opportunity to say 'thank you,' " Kanabay said.
Between three and six floats will be used in this year's parade, and more than 30 groups will participate along the parade route.
Some of those participants include the OLM Marching Band, Merced County Sheriff's Posse, the Merced Marching 100, Tenaya Middle School Band, Military Veterans of Merced College, American Legion Riders Chapter 83 and the Cruickshank Middle School Marching Tigers.
Supporters of this year's parade include the American Legion Merced Post 83, American Legion Ballico, Merced Elks Lodge, Westamerica Bank, Yosemite Farm Credit, Merced School Employees Federal Credit Union, and Kenneth and Ruth Stone.
The city of Gustine is scheduled to hold a Veterans Day parade on Sunday, which is to begin at 11 a.m. on Main Street.
The parade is scheduled to begin in front of the Veterans Hall.
In other news regarding veterans, the VA Central California Healthcare System's Merced clinic will host a Veterans' Benefits Open House this Saturday from 10 a.m. to noon. at 340 E. Yosemite Ave. Those who attend will have an opportunity to meet health care providers and learn about VA health services.
City Editor Victor A. Patton can be reached at (209) 385-2431 or firstname.lastname@example.org.