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Escalon Gears Up For Veterans Day
Leonard Pereira has long been a member of the Escalon American Legion Post, active in community organizations and ready to serve as this year's Grand Marshal for the upcoming Veterans' Day parade.

Plans are under way for the event, which will be hosted on Main Street beginning at 10 a.m. on Thursday, Nov. 11.

Veterans' Day in Escalon also features a flag raising ceremony at the historic Main Street Park caboose, another ceremony at the Veterans' Memorial Wall adjacent to the Community Center and a chicken barbecue served up by the Gustafson-Thompson American Legion Post.

Pereira, born and raised in Escalon, went into the service in 1945 but never had to fire his weapon.

"I went in in February, went through the boot camp in San Diego and came back here for a little vacation," he said of being granted leave before getting ready to ship out for duty.

But when he returned from his break after boot camp, they discovered he had rheumatic fever.

"I was waiting for the deployment, waiting for whatever they wanted me to do," Pereira explained of his brief tenure with the Navy. "They discharged me in October,"

He went on to have a career as a heavy equipment operator, building dams and roads, working for contractors throughout the region. He got married, had two daughters and stayed involved with community groups and service clubs in his native Escalon.

He is honored and pleased to have been chosen as Grand Marshal, learning about it, he said "when I went down to the donut shop."

He has been involved in the Legion for years and ran the colorguard for a portion of that time. His late brother, John, was also in the service and a member of the post.

The Nov. 11 parade will begin at 10 a.m. on Main Street and include not only the musical groups and community organizations but also some military representatives and honored guests. Call Harold Peterson, 847-4432 or Mark Sward, 838-3050, for more information.