GUSTINE - A Veterans Day parade and program Monday morning, Nov. 11, in Gustine will pay tribute to all who have served in the nation’s armed forces and to the men and women who are currently serving in defense of a nation’s freedom.

The parade begins at 11 a.m. sharp at the south end of Fifth Street, and will proceed to the Veterans Memorial Hall, where a program will follow.

The observance is a remembrance of service and sacrifice, said leaders of local veteran posts.

“Veterans should be recognized for the sacrifices they made,” said Kris Walton, commander of the American Legion, Manuel M. Lopes Post 240. “The sacrifices are immense....to be separated from your family and fighting for what we believe in in this country. We have the freedoms we have because of our veterans. It is very important that we recognize what they have done.”

The families of those in the armed forces sacrifice as well, Walton noted.

Ron Roos, commander of the Veterans of Foreign Wars, Joseph G. Rose Post 7635, said the Veterans Day programs help preserve the remembrance and awareness of those sacrifices in a nation that is fast forgetting past wars and the heroes who served.

The Veterans Day observance is a long-standing tradition in Gustine.

Regardless of the day of the week on which it falls, the observance is traditionally held at the 11th hour of 11th day of the 11th month - coinciding with the date and time at which the armistice with Germany was reached in 1918, effectively ending World War I.

The national holiday honors all veterans who have served, whether in time of war or peace. All veterans and active duty personnel are invited to participate.

Veterans who are unable to walk the parade route are invited to ride on a special float provided. Those wishing to ride on the float are asked to be at the veterans hall no later than 10:30 a.m. Monday.

The program which follows the procession will feature guest speaker Josh Whitfield, a U.S. Army veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom. Roos said Whitfield is a Bronze Star recipient who was wounded in action in 2008.

A lunch of beans and bread will be served at the conclusion of the program.

The public is invited to pay their respects to the veterans.

The annual Veterans Day observance is conducted by the local VFW and American Legion posts and their respective auxiliary units.