Golda Fabian of Portland and Hattie Kelley of Beaverton served their country as women marines during World War II. On November 11, the 93-year olds will serve as grand marshals of the Portland Veterans Day Parade, sponsored by Dignity Memorial, in the Hollywood District.
“Back then everyone wanted to do anything we could to end the war, so our men could come home,” said Fabian.
“Because of the number of women marines – about 20,000 – the Marine Corps was able to free enough men from non-combat jobs, to create another fighting division,” said Kelley.
“We are honored to have these two women lead our parade,” said Scott Thompson, chair of the parade committee. “They are a great example of the contributions made by women service members throughout our history – one that continues today.”
The parade begins at 9:30 a.m. on November 11 at N.E. 40th Ave. and N.E. Hancock St. and travels east on N.E. Sandy Boulevard to N.E. 48th Ave., where a memorial flag raising ceremony will be held. Everyone is welcome to attend and can register to march in the parade to honor a veteran at veteransdaypdx.org.
Following the parade at noon, veterans are invited to a free, live USO-style show at the Hollywood Theatre, featuring Tony Starlight and musicians who volunteer their time to perform.
Vernon E. Ross, original owner of Ross Hollywood Chapel, founded the parade, in 1974. A veteran of both World War I and World War II, Ross wanted to honor veterans of all wars and celebrate patriotism. Just prior to the parade’s start in 1983, Ross collapsed while standing at the base of the Veterans Memorial flagpole in Hollywood and died later that evening. Dignity Memorial honors his dedication to veterans by sponsoring the annual parade in the Hollywood District each November.
Organizers are looking for volunteers to work the morning of the parade and/or the Saturday prior. Jobs include directing participants, answering general questions, and working with Portland Police to direct traffic. Sign up at veteransdayparadepdx.org.