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Veterans turn out to march and salute.

Byline: Jim Feehan The Register-Guard

Were it not for his 1942 jeep breaking down earlier this year, Jim Petralba would have been in Eugene's Veterans Day Parade Sunday rather than watching from a curb outside the Veterans' Memorial Building.

But that didn't seem to bother the 77-year-old veteran of three wars.

"Parts are hard to find for that jeep. But I'm enjoying watching the parade," Petralba said.

Petralba and his friend, Gene Spores, 78, both of Springfield, were hard to miss during the hourlong parade.

The two veterans proudly wore their Navy uniforms to the event honoring men and women who've served in the armed forces.

A 22-year Navy veteran, Petralba served as a quartermaster during World War II, Korea and Vietnam. Spores, a boatswain's mate, served in World War II and Korea.

Parade participants included several veterans groups, a Civil War re-enactment troupe, an honor guard from the Confederated Tribes of the Grand Ronde and a Ferret.

No, not a domesticated polecat with pink eyes and yellowish fur, but a 1963 British light-armored assault vehicle used extensively during the British occupation of Northern Ireland.

Think of a smaller version of the U.S. Bradley fighting vehicle. The olive drab, two-seat vehicle with Rolls Royce engine was emblazoned with Union Jack and George W. Bush decals - and an Oregon State University flag sticking out of a gun turret.

The entry was sponsored by the Emerald Empire Young Marines. "We're honoring the Beavers because they came down to be part of our parade," said Thad Lukasik, the group's commanding officer.

When Sheldon and Thurston high schools declined and the University of Oregon Marching Band sent regrets because of a scheduling conflict, organizers turned to OSU's "Rhythm and Beavs" pep band, joined by 15 members of the school's marching band.

The Corvallis contingent was warmly greeted as it performed from the back of a flatbed trailer pulled by a mammoth Kenworth truck tractor.

"We're trying to build a bigger presence outside of athletic events; and besides, it's hard to say no to the veterans," band director Brad Townsend said.

In keeping with the Veterans Day theme, the band played the anthems of five service academies.

Union soldiers, meanwhile, marched side-by-side with Confederate troops - thanks to the Northwest Civil War Council, a Portland-based Civil War reenactment group.

"We don't miss a chance to perform at a Veterans Day parade," said Steven Stowell of Dallas, Ore., dressed as a Union captain.

Several hundred people lined the 1 1/2 -mile parade route from the Lane Events Center to Civic Stadium.

The fifth annual event, sponsored by the Lane County Veterans Day Parade Association, boasted 62 entries.

Five members of Springfield's Cub Scout Troop 70 waved miniature U.S. flags while they greeted parade entrants near the intersection of 16th Avenue and Willamette Street.

Watching the parade was part of a community service pledge the troop took earlier this year, den leader Bob Petersen said.

"I like seeing our veterans and showing them we support them," said 8-year-old Zack Moore.

CAPTION(S):

Springfield veterans Gene Spores (left) and Jim Petralba salute a passing flag as they watch the Eugene Veterans Day parade from the curb instead of driving the route in Petralba's 1942 jeep, which broke down. Several hundred people watched the fifth annual parade. Members of Cub Scout Troop 70 from Springfield, (from left) Zack Moore, Billy Mangold, Israel Brodkorb, Tyler McCord and Isaac Petersen, watch the Veterans Day parade. Wayne Eastburn / The Register-Guard The Sullivan family, including 6-year-old Sean, from Philomath, marched as Union veterans from the Civil War on Sunday in the Eugene Veterans Day parade.
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Title Annotation:Holidays; The Eugene parade pays tribute to the service and sacrifices of the men and women of the U.S. military
Publication:The Register-Guard (Eugene, OR)
Date:Nov 8, 2004
Words:604
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