World War II veterans will be among the guests of honor this morning at a breakfast preceding Allegheny County's annual Veterans Day Parade.
The breakfast is one of several events and activities linked to the day that has been set aside to remember those who have served in the armed forces.
Friends of Danang, a volunteer organization that raises money for humanitarian projects in Vietnam, has sponsored the breakfast for the past 12 years. The event will start at 7:30 a.m. in the Marriott City Center, across the street from the Civic Arena, where the Veterans Day parade will form.
The main speaker will be the Rev. James R. Conroy, a Jesuit priest who served as an Army officer in Vietnam before attending seminary. He is a Wilkinsburg native.
"Folks can finish breakfast, walk outside and join or watch the parade," Anthony W. Accamando Jr. said. He is a member of the Friends of Danang committee.
The breakfast is expected to attract about 400; a few walk-in seats remain.
"Our objectives are to honor veterans, to thank them for their sacrifices and to talk about the work of our organization," he said.
Since 1998, Friends of Danang, working with several other organizations, has helped to build two large schools, seven smaller schools and a medical clinic in the Danang region. More information about the organization is available at 412-235-4054 or www.friendsofdanang.org.
The Veterans Day parade is scheduled to begin at 10:30 a.m. with Brigadier General Peter Lennon as grand marshal. He is commander of the U.S. Army's 316th Expeditionary Sustainment Command in Moon.
The four-division parade will travel along Centre Avenue to Fifth Avenue, then follow Wood Street to the Boulevard of the Allies and a reviewing stand near Stanwix Street.
At Fort Necessity National Battlefield, near Farmington, veterans and their families will be given free admission today. Hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Fort Necessity was the site of a siege by French and Indian forces in 1754 that ended in the surrender of a British and Colonial army led by 22-year-old George Washington. Battles at Fort Necessity and nearby Jumonville Glen were the opening engagements in what became the worldwide Seven Years War.
Many veterans today are looking toward 2011 when they expect to dedicate a World War II memorial on Pittsburgh's North Shore. The stainless steel-and-glass monument is to be built between Heinz Field and the Del Monte Center.
The fundraising goal for the project is $4 million. About $2.2 million is in hand with firm pledges made for another $1 million, according to John Vento, 87, of Penn Hills, a World War II Army veteran who works part time as political director for the Allegheny County Labor Council and is vice president of the organization collecting funds for the memorial.
The World War II Veterans of Southwestern Pennsylvania Memorial Fund Inc. wants to raise the remaining $800,000 before construction begins. The group hopes to raise another $500,000 to cover annual maintenance costs.
The group has been raising money through the sale of an annual calendar that features photos of local veterans. Information on obtaining the 2011 calendar is available at 412-779-2959 or www.swpawwII.org.
Men and women who served in the armed services, mostly from the World War II era, also can gather at the Veterans Breakfast Club meetings held at multiple locations in the Pittsburgh suburbs.
The next event will be held at 8:30 a.m. next Thursday at the Crowne Plaza Hotel, 1160 Thorn Run Road, Moon. Reservations: 412-623-9029.
Len Barcousky: firstname.lastname@example.org or 412-263-1159.