SALINAS VALLEY — An estimated 25,000-plus patriotic spectators lined Main Street in Salinas for the 12th Annual Monterey County Veterans Day Parade that featured more than 100 participants, including color guards, marching bands, military vehicles and classic cars.
According to Parade Chairman Tony Virrueta, the Nov. 11 event was the largest to date and involved many from South Monterey County, such as Soledad American Legion Post 32, Soledad High School NJROTC, Hartnell Veterans Club, Monterey County Supervisor Chris Lopez of Greenfield, Fort Hunter Liggett soldiers and FHL Garrison Commander Col. Lisa Lamb, who was this year’s grand marshal.
The 2022 parade was dedicated to fallen Salinas Police Officer JD Alvarado, who was a combat Army veteran.
An opening ceremony took place prior to the parade at the Salinas High School parking lot, where a mock oath of enlistment occurred for about 100 future service members from all military branches.
Other local Veterans Day events included King City VFW’s drive-thru barbecue and City of Soledad’s Salute to Service ceremony.
Hosted at at Soledad City Hall, the second annual Salute to Service: Veterans and Family Appreciation Day on Nov. 11 featured a POW/MIA flag-raising ceremony and guest speakers, such as Senior Naval Science Instructor Capt. Pete Gomez and Soledad Police Chief Damon Wasson.
Other participants included Soledad Historical Society, Soledad Lioness Club, Soledad High School NJROTC cadets and the Soledad Aztec marching band.