Long Beach will celebrate Veterans Day 2012 with its annual Veterans Day Parade on Saturday, Nov. 10. Themed “A Salute to Those Who Served,” the parade is in its 16th year of honoring men and women who have served in all branches of the United States military.
This year’s parade will step off from the corner of Atlantic Avenue and Harding Street, proceed south on Atlantic Avenue to 56th Street, make a U-turn and return to the step-off point. The activities will begin at 10am.
“We are expecting a really great parade for this year,” said Martha Thuente, event coordinator. “This is the first time in recent years that we have had representatives from every branch of the military participating. We have a stellar line-up of bands and other types of units in the line of march. This is one parade not to be missed.”
Chief Warrant Officer 4 Thomas M. Murphy has been named grand marshal for this year’s parade. Murphy is a native of Southern California and graduated from Lakewood High School in 1967. His military career includes service in the US Army, the Army National Guard and the California Military Reserve. Murphy served in Vietnam and Iraq, flying helicopters. After retirement from active duty, Murphy held various posts in the Long Beach Unified School District and retired as an assistant principal of Wilson High School.
At the age of 17, Honorary Grand Marshal Rudy Rios enlisted in the United States Army. He has held numerous leadership roles, currently holding the rank of First Sergeant. He also is a Long Beach police officer. Rios was called to active duty and served as a member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Security Team in Washington, D.C. He has recently returned from a year-long deployment to Afghanistan.
During the 1940s, the United States Armed Forces were strictly segregated; African-American men who enlisted were sent to separate training bases, away from their peers of other racial backgrounds. One of those separate facilities was known as Montford Point Marine Training Center. Three distinguished graduates of the Montford Point facility have been chosen as honorary grand marshals of the 2012 Long Beach Veterans Day Parade.
Honorary Grand Marshal Mitchell T. Key graduated from Montford Point in 1945 and served as a marksmanship instructor in Korea and Vietnam.
Also named as an honorary grand marshal, William “Jack” McDowell served in World War II, the Korean War and the Vietnam War. He was a marksmanship instructor and drill sergeant at Marine Corps Recruit Depot in San Diego, where he was named Drill Instructor of the Year in 1958.
Honorary Grand Marshal Robert Stanley Hammond enlisted in the Navy at the age of 17 and served during World War II as a hospital corpsman.
For more information, visit lbveteransdayparade.com .