SALINAS, Calif. - In honor of Veteran's Day, a special annual event in Salinas is coming Saturday. And the Grand Marshall of this years' Salinas Veteran's Day Parade is a name, most people know well.
"I have always been very proud of my service in the army and my service to the country," said Former Secretary of Defense and CIA Director Leon Panetta.
Yes, that's *the* Leon Panetta, former Secretary of Defense and CIA Director, and as many locals know, Central Coast Native.
"Born and raised in the Monterey area, served part of my service at old Fort Ord. So the opportunity to be able now to celebrate that service and celebrate the service of all the men and women in uniform I think is just a very rewarding event for me," said Panetta.
Panetta will serve as the Grand Marshall of the seventh annual Salinas Veteran's Day Parade, an event he's very familiar with.
"I've attended it when I was a member of congress, and I've attended it periodically. I've found it to be really an important event that honors our veterans," said Panetta.
He says the Salinas Veteran's Day Parade not only honors our country's veterans, but brings together the community.
"Whatever our differences are, whatever our political differences are, whatever our different views may be, that the bottom line is we are all Americans. And this parade is something that not only honors all of us but in particular, our veterans," said Panetta.
The seventh annual Veteran's Day Parade starts at two at Salinas High School. It runs down Main Street to the Steinbeck Center. Parade organizers are urging people to get there early, with big crowds expected.