Korean War focus of Auburn Veterans Day event honoring all veterans

By: Gus Thomson, Journal Staff Writer
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Auburn’s Veterans Day parade is turning into a regional draw. The parade, which starts in Downtown Auburn at 10:45 a.m. Thursday, has already attracted interest from veterans from as far away as Marysville, Sacramento and Colfax, who want take part by either marching or walking. Cynthia Haynes, Veterans Day committee chairwoman, said today that the widescale popularity of the event – forecast to take place under fair skies – has demonstrated the community’s willingness to honor veterans. “Word is getting out about having one of the best parades,” Haynes said. Haynes said two good examples of the welcome mat the community is putting out involve aid for veterans unable to walk the route from Downtown Auburn to the Gold Country Fairgrounds. In one, the Auburn Masons have built a float with a ramp that allows disabled veterans to bring their wheelchairs aboard. In another, two young men offered a convertible to use in the parade for people who aren’t able to walk to ride in, she said. “I just love the community spirit,” Haynes said. “I think it’s going to be a bang-up parade.” Korean War veteran John Knierim, 77, was helping with the Masonic Lodge float today and looking forward to riding in the parade. This is the second year the Masons will have provided a float for veterans unable to walk the route. “I hate to see a guy sitting by the curb watching the parade go by,” Knierim said. In keeping with past years’ tributes to a group of veterans, this year’s theme is “The Forgotten War,” with a specially struck Korean War commemorative medal awarded to the first 500 veterans in attendance as either participants or spectators at the Auburn event. Next year’s theme has already been chosen, honoring women in the military. Knierim served in Korea for 17 months with both the Army and Marines. The Korean War lasted from June 25, 1950, to July 27, 1953. The U.S. casualty county was 103,000 wounded and 36,000 dead. Knierim said he was proud to be taking part in this year’s Korean War commemoration, which includes an appearance by a representative of the South Korean consulate in San Francisco. “I feel very patriotic and I know others who feel the same way,” he said. World War II veteran Gus Hetland, 87, of Weimar also plans to attend. “I plan to squeeze into my uniform again,” Hetland said. “I just won’t breathe.” --------------------------------- Auburn Veterans Day parade, ceremony When: Parade starts at 10:45 a.m. Thursday, Nov. 11 along Lincoln Way from Cleveland Street. Taps will be played a 11 a.m. at the new Central Square. Parade will proceed along High Street to the Gold Country Fairgrounds. A ceremony and lunch will follow in the National Guard Armory at the fairgrounds.