Veterans Day Parade at 64 years
Bob (Pete) Petterson will be leading the 64th Veterans Day parade at 11 a.m. on Monday, November 11 and was one of the founders of the event that began on 1955.
After graduating from Beloit High School in 1950, Petterson joined the Marine Corp at the age of 19 in 1951. He served until his release in July of 1954 and returned to Beloit where he began his family and in continuing his military patriotism in what he feels most passionate about.
Bob married his wife Marilyn in August of 1952 while on leave from Korea. Together they had two sons, Bob and Wayne and a daughter Karen.
When Petterson returned from the military, he worked for his brother Don at Petterson Brothers Construction before his passing. Bob then started Petterson Construction.
"I felt like I was treated good from everyone when I arrived back to Beloit. I did get asked about why I never went back to college and I did have a chance to do that through football."
Petterson was an All-State Beloit Trojan and carries that proudly. He had the chance to visit a college to play football but had his sites set towards a military career. He has spent many hours supporting his children's activities through their high school sports and he has volunteered his time for the Beloit Wrestling Invitational for over 50 years, providing bracket boards he made starting the third year into the program.
"I have no regrets in going into the military," said Bob. "It is something I wanted to do and I have enjoyed watching my children succeed in their sports endeavors."
Petterson continued his military passion when he returned to the states through the Veterans of Foreign War (VFW) Color Guard. He helped form the first color guard that was asked to present at the District Convention in Salina.
"The Post Commander threw the informational letter about the color guard in the waste paper basket," said Petterson. "I commented that I thought it sounded like an honor and he handed me the paper and asked me, then why don't you get it started."
Petterson did just that. He was asked to be the Officer of the Day with the Department of Kansas and also had the first color guard that participated at the National competition for three years. They received a second place, only missing by a point at Dallas, Texas. The next year they competed at Miami Beach, Florida and missed first place again by just a tenth of a point. The following year, they traveled to New York City and placed third in the Nationals.
Petterson was Officer of the Day at Nationals three years in a row. He was in the sixth District Nationals for three years and stayed at the Officer of the Day VFW Post 6242 position until recently as they have dispersed due to their ages and no younger military figures stepping up to participate.
Bob feels the patriotism is still around.
"To tell you the truth, I didn't even really look at the people during the parades," laughed Bob. "I was always focused on leading the Color Guard. That was my job and I took it seriously. Last year I was able to view the event from the fire truck as I was honored for my over 32 years of volunteer fire fighting. I was a Fire Chief for four years. This year I can now watch from inside of the Grand Marshal vehicle and I am very honored to do so."
See more about Bob Petterson in Friday's edition of the Beloit Call.