A diverse group of people participated in the 17th annual Veterans Day Parade in Fallbrook. Veterans of World War II, Iraq and everyone in between were included in the lineup according to VFW member Marc Sigmon, who chaired the Nov. 11 parade for the second year in a row.
Sigmon said that the VFW and its parade are open to “all veterans, no matter how long they served.” He also pointed out that, “Less than one percent of Americans have served in the military service.”
This year, the parade and subsequent ceremony had a theme of a “Tribute to Women Veterans”. So the parade marshal was Fallbrook resident and WWII veteran First Lieutenant Betty Gilby, who at 98 is said to be the oldest veteran in town. She served in Algeria, North Africa, Italy, and Yugoslavia as a registered dietitian in the Army Medical Department.
The guest speaker for the ceremony in Vince Ross Village Square was Lieutenant Colonel Jennifer Ann Nash, the commanding officer of 7th Engineer Support Battalion at Camp Pendleton. In her speech, Lt. Col Nash said, “It is good to recognize women but also good to appreciate all veterans and their contributions.”
Veterans were honored with rides in vintage cars, fire engines, and a Regency Retirement Residence’s bus while crowds of residents and visitors waved flags up and down the street. Among the 30 entrants that met in the Major Market shopping center to march up Main Avenue were the Fallbrook High School Warrior Marching Band, the Shafters car club, the Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, American Heritage Girls, and the Sea Cadets.
Also represented were the American Legion, Rotary Club of Fallbrook, Marine Corps Mechanized Museum, Fallbrook’s Honorary Mayor Michelle Verdugo, Miss Fallbrook and her court, Fallbrook Chamber of Commerce CEO Lila MacDonald, and the Fallbrook Vintage Car Club which provided their rides.
For Sigmon, the parade is “our day to shine; for a remarkable hour, the town comes together…when we come together and recognize people it’s a nice way to display patriotism, a chance for people to pay tribute, on sidewalks or in the parade.”