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Joint Chiefs chairman pulls out of Valley Veterans Day parade

November 9, 2009 |  1:42 pm

NavyadmiralA scheduled appearance by the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff at this week's San Fernando Valley Veterans Day parade has been canceled because of the Ft. Hood shootings, officials said today.

Navy Adm. Michael Mullen had been set to serve as grand marshal of the Wednesday parade. Mullen was raised in North Hollywood and had been looking forward to joining veterans from his former stomping grounds, he said in an interview before the tragedy in Texas.

But the shootings that left 13 people dead and dozens wounded forced Mullen to change plans, said Gene Smith, a spokeswoman for Rep. Howard L. Berman (D-Valley Village).

"He wanted to do it,'' Smith said. "But all things considered, I don't think it would be appropriate for him to be riding in a parade."

Organizers said the parade would begin as scheduled at 11:11 a.m. at Laurel Canyon and San Fernando Mission boulevards. They are scrambling to find a substitute for Mullen, said Fred Flores, an event organizer.

"It was unexpected and he has to deal with it,'' Flores said of the shootings. "His role is to take care of our soldiers."

This is the sixth year for the parade.

-- Catherine Saillant

Photo: Navy Adm. Michael Mullen makes an appearance last month in Hawaii. Credit: Jerry Morrison / Getty Images

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