Retired Marine Corps Lt. Col. Oliver North will be the grand marshal of the Veterans Day Parade in Fresno on Friday.
The Marines are being honored this year in what is the largest such parade west of the Mississippi River.
The opening ceremony starts at 10:30 a.m. at Fresno City Hall and will feature several speakers. The parade will begin at 11 a.m. at P Street and Tulare Avenue and wind over a mile through downtown before ending up at Chukchansi Park.
The parade started during the country’s first celebration of Armistice Day in 1919. It has been held most, but not all, years since then. Last year’s event took over an hour to run from start to finish.
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Parking will be free downtown.
Spectators are encouraged to bring an unwrapped toy to donate to Toys for Tots. Marines will have donation boxes set up along the parade route.
North, who saw combat duty in the Vietnam War and then worked for the National Security Council, was a prominent figure in the Iran-Contra scandal of the Reagan administration. North was indicted for allegedly defrauding the government in the scandal, which involved arms sales to Iran and the use of some of the proceeds to help the Contra rebels in Nicaragua. All charges against North were later dismissed.
In 1994 North ran unsuccessfully for the U.S. Senate in Virginia.
The parade committee has a website with more information: fresnovdp.org.