By Ellen Manzo, Veterans Memorial & Support Board Member

Silicon Valley celebrated America’s Veterans this past Veterans Day. The region paid respect to their historical and present-day contributions to our country at northern California’s largest Veterans Day Parade hosted in San Jose, and the public poured out to participate in the festivities.

Veterans Foundation Board members had the privilege of honoring America’s Veterans in major fashion. Board Advisor to the Veterans Foundation, Former Assistant Secretary US Army and USMC Reserve Colonel William E Peacock, was chosen with the ceremonial distinction of Grand Marshall for the San Jose Veterans Day Parade.

While Bill Peacock is always thankful for support on November 11, he hopes it continues year-round. “This is a holiday for every American Citizen,” remarked Peacock, “And every person who comes to America who wants to be an American citizen.” Arti Srivastava, accompanying Colonel Peacock, commented, “This parade celebrates America’s Veterans all over the world, and we’re celebrating the spirit of patriotism and the idealism that makes this country great.”

“Every day on the average, 22 veterans commit suicide (died by suicide), and that says a lot about how America is treating our veterans,” U.S. Marine Corps Reserve Col. William Peacock said. “There are a lot of homeless veterans out there, including some who have turned to alternative substance and alcohol abuse. And that’s what we’re working on.” Col. Peacock, who is actively involved with the Veterans Memorial & Support Foundation, knows firsthand how the organization strives to improve the lives of Veterans.

Veterans Memorial & Support Foundation President Major General Kent Hillhouse, US Army (Ret.), who typically rides the San Jose streets for this affair in a classic car, rode the parade route from the cockpit of a military vehicle. The experience undoubtedly brought back memories of his distinguished 35-year military career, including serving on the front line in Vietnam.

The parade looked the same this year, but, in a way, it was different. The tradition returned after a year off due to the pandemic and was a welcomed sight for everyone!