This Veterans Day, Nov. 11, Sonoma County is honoring local vets with a parade, free museum visits, countryside hikes and more.
Veterans Day Parade in Petaluma
Petaluma’s annual Veterans Day Parade and Flyover is expected to be well-attended this year, following a significantly scaled back event last year due to the coronavirus pandemic. The parade theme this year is “Welcome Home Vietnam Veterans” and will honor those who served during the war by giving them the “welcome home they always deserved,” according to the parade’s official website. There will also be a special tribute to the 15 Petaluma men who lost their lives in Vietnam.
The parade route begins and ends in Walnut Park, where there will be live music in the gazebo at noon. Decorated Vietnam War door gunner and author Tony Lazzarini will take the gazebo stage after the parade, around 2:45 p.m., to lead an opening prayer and the Pledge of Allegiance. Andrea Krout will perform the national anthem and God Bless America, followed by speeches by local dignitaries. Parade attendees should keep an eye on the sky as a Vietnam-era Huey Helicopter will do a flyover along with other aircraft.
The parade starts at noon on Thursday, Nov. 11 in Walnut Park, at the intersection of 4th and D streets in Petaluma. Attendees are encouraged to arrive early and carpool in anticipation of road closures and traffic. For more information, visit petalumaveteransparade.com.
Cards for Courage
The Petaluma-based nonprofit Senior Advocacy Services has created a Cards for Courage campaign this year, which allows people to honor a veteran living alone or in a nursing home with a handwritten message and a gift. A $25 donation to the nonprofit will go toward a letter and a warm fleece blanket, which will be delivered in person to a local veteran. For more information about Cards for Courage, visit senioradvocacyservices.org/contribute-to-cards-for-courage or contact Senior Advocacy Services at 707-526-4108.
Honoring Veterans at Charles M. Schulz Museum
The Charles M. Schulz Museum in Santa Rosa offers a military discount on admission for veterans and active military service members every day of the year, but veterans can enjoy free admission on Veterans Day in honor of their service and in tribute to Charles M. Schulz’s military service. The free admission for veterans is valid from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 11. For more information, visit schulzmuseum.org/calendar.
Veteran’s Day Coffee and Hike
Sonoma County Regional Parks is treating all veterans to a cup of joe and a guided morning hike with majestic views. The hike through North Sonoma Mountain Regional Park and Open Space Preserve begins at 9 a.m. on Nov. 11 with coffee and takes about three hours. While the event in honor of veterans is free, registration is required.
Additionally, Sonoma County Regional Parks is providing free access passes to its parks for veterans, active duty military and their families throughout the Veterans Day holiday weekend, Nov. 11 to Nov. 14. For more information, visit parks.sonomacounty.ca.gov or contact Sonoma County Regional Parks at 707-565-2041.
Free SMART rides for veterans
The SMART train is offering free rides to veterans, active duty military and their families on Veterans Day. All that’s needed for free trips through the county’s bucolic hills and charming hubs is a valid ID card or Veterans Administration ID card. For more information, visit sonomamarintrain.org/schedules-fares.
Take advantage of the Veterans Day deals and events by taking a free train ride to the Santa Rosa North station, which is a 10-minute walk to the Schulz Museum. Or take the train to the Petaluma Downtown station and take a stroll down D Street to watch the Veterans Day parade.