In Germantown, a salute to minority veterans of World War II

When James Cranchall reflects on his Army years in Europe during World War II, he speaks with pride.

Cranchall, 88, of Germantown, who was in Belgium in the Battle of the Bulge and later was wounded by a land mine in Pilzen, Czechoslovakia in 1945, said, "When you remember things like that it gives you a bit of excitement. You can't help it."

That excitement and pride will be on display Saturday as minority veterans are honored with a parade and other activities in Germantown. The festivities are sponsored by Aces Museum, a facility in Germantown that pays tribute to minority veterans of World War II. Solomon Williams, a spokesman for the museum at 5801-3 Germantown Avenue, said the program marks, May 25, 2000, which Congress and President Clinton declared the Day of Honor, to salute black, Latino, American Indian, and Pacific Islander veterans of World War II.

The program will start with a parade along Germantown Avenue at 11 a.m. from the 5100 block to Vernon Park in the 5800 block, and participants will include several World War II veterans. Other activities include a dinner dance and a pool tournament.

Cranchall, a retired janitor, said he plans to attend. "I'm going to be in my street clothes," Cranchall said. "I don't have any uniforms."

He said it was important for him to be at the parade,"so other people, civilians know what really went on during that time. We were there."

Cranchall said that when he hears reports about soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan, "I get memories about the things I went through. It gives you pride as a black soldier to say you were part of this."

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