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Veterans Day schedule announced

Posted: Friday, Oct 25th, 2013

Michael Jordan (from left, front), Nick Alaga Jr. and his father Nick Alaga stride along Main Street in 2006 with other veterans in the Veteran's Day parade. (File photos by Tarmo Hannula/Register-Pajaronian).

WATSONVILLE ó City officials and local veterans are gearing up for the annual Veteranís Day parade and ceremony, which always falls on Nov. 11.

This year Al Hopson will be honored as the American Legion Hero and Manuel C. Gutierrez will be recognized as veteran of the year during a ceremony at the Veterans Memorial Building on East Beach Street.

Gutierrez was drafted unto the U.S. Army in December of 1962 during the Cuban missile crisis. After completing his 13 months of duty in Korea as a supply specialist he returned to the U.S. to complete his active and reserve military obligation. He continues to assist veteran organizations and with community events.

At age 18, as a Watsonville High senior, Hopson enlisted in the Army Air Corp in 1943. He later switched to the U.S. Air Force. His first assignment was at Emporia, Kansas, where he married. Hopson and his wife, Marian, have been together for 69 years. Hopson spent the next two years training as a pilot and aircraft mechanic for the B-26 and B-25 aircrafts. He attended gunnery school in Fort Meyers, Florida. Hopson was among the first group formed to fly the new Douglas A-26, a medium attack bomber.

In 1945 Hopson was transferred overseas to England and France as part of the 9th Air Force 391 Bomb Group. As aerial engineer/gunner he flew seven missions over Germany.

The veteranís parade lines up at 9:45 a.m. behind Saint Francis Church at Main and Ford streets. Watsonville Police Cadets will lead the parade as the Color Guard and then serve as the Honor Guard at the Veterans Memorial Hall where they will post the colors.

The Watsonville Band will play from 10:15-10:50 a.m. to start the ceremony. Former Watsonville Mayor, Todd McFarren, will act as master of ceremonies.

The public is invited to the free event.

Light refreshments will be served at the close of the ceremony.

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