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No raining on their parade

People come together to toast the Patriots Day parade honorees at festive brunch.

February 08, 2008|By Barbara Diamond

Rainy skies couldn’t dim the sunny smiles at the brunch Sunday to pay tribute to the 2008 Patriots Day Parade honorees.

The parade committee selected Harry Lawrence to lead the parade as grand marshal. World War II veteran Robert Meyerhof was named Patriot of the Year and hotelier Claes Anderson the Citizen of the Year. Laguna Beach High School staff picked Junior Citizens of the Year Rebekah Elizabeth Farrar and Paul Hester.

“We are so fortunate to live in town where there are so many great people to honor,” said parade President Charles Quilter III, a retired U.S. Marine Corps colonel and a past Patriot of the Year.

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The Honorees Brunch at Tivoli Terrace was the prelude to the parade, set for March 1.

It is said half of the town marches in the parade and the other half watches. The parade was originated to encourage a love of country and respect for the American flag in the city’s youth.

The 2008 parade theme is “Stars and Stripes Forever,” which the country has been marching to since 1896 when John Philip Sousa composed it while served as head of the U.S. Marine Corps Band.

“‘Stars and Stripes Forever’ was inspired by our American flag,” wrote Thurston Middle School student Allison Abney, in her essay on the parade theme.

“The flag is a symbol of the unity of our country as one nation and of our independence and it reminds us of how much we fought to earn our freedom.”

Abney read her winning essay to an appreciative audience at the brunch.

“We pick the one that touches our hearts,” Quilter said.

The essay will be printed in the parade program that will feature cover art by Laguna Beach High School student Cole Winocur. Art teacher Peter Tiner said the cover is one of the very best in the parade’s history.

Biographies of the parade’s grand marshal, citizen, and patriots [junior and senior] of the year will also be featured in the program.

However, Quilter offered a preview at the brunch.

“The Citizen and the Patriot of the Year were not born in the United States, but they have really taught us a lot about being American,” Quilter said.

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Honorees

?Andersen, who was born in Denmark, came to America as an executive chef, a graduate with honors from the Hotel and Restaurant School in his hometown of Odense. He is an award-winning member of Chaine des Rotisseuers, an international gastromy group with roots back to 1248.

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