General Vang Pao leading Veteran's Day parade

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

10,000 Veterans Expected in Wednesday's Parade

Valley residents will gather to honor the men and women who have served our country.

Nearly 10,000 veterans are expected to march through the streets of downtown Fresno in this year’s parade.

It will start around 10:30 a.m. with an opening ceremony at Fresno City Hall. The Grand Marshal is Captain James Knapp, the Commanding Officer at Lemoore Naval Air Station.

There will be another guest of honor this year, Hmong leader General Vang Pao, a first not only for Fresno but the country.

It's the first time General Pao has ever participated in a parade. Pao was sought out by the CIA during the Vietnam War and helped lead the Hmong during conflict.

Fresno Veteran Charlie Waters said, “They're the ones who destroyed the equipment coming through Laos into Vietnam and they also saved American pilots lives. They were shot down and they were the ones that went into the jungle and rescued them and took them back to safety.” More than 30,000 Hmong soldiers died in the war.

The parade route begins at P and Tulare, near City Hall and ends near Tulare and H Street at Chukchansi Park.

To prepare, the City of Fresno will shut down streets along the parade route beginning around 8:00 a.m.


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