The Faces of Veterans Day

Yesterday was a glorious sunny day. Earlier in the week I saw a friend post on Facebook that she was in urgent need for a convertible for the annual Veteran’s Parade. I have a Jeep with a soft top so I responded, asking if that would help. She enthusiastically said “Yes!” So I set about getting a year’s worth of dirt of my Jeep. I view dirt as a protective coating, so this was no small run through the car wash, it was a scrub down, actually it was three, but that’s not the real topic for this post.

I grew up with a Pop who served in the Marines, uncles who served in Vietnam, and great uncles who served in WWII. I saw with great regularity the cost of that service. I also saw silent pride for having made the choice to serve. Washing a Jeep to do something small for men and women like this is simply inconsequential. I was honored to do it. I drove a man who was was a couple years younger than my Pop would have been. He served in the Marines Vietnam in the mid 60s. As we drove through the streets people shouted “Thank You!” – something this man should have heard when he came home. He waved and took it all in as his friends an neighbors cheered for him.

What follows is my exploration of the men and women in the parade, some vets, some family members, some cloning out to march to honor loved ones or even just an era. It was different for me shooting from inside the parade. I didn’t get to see much of it, just the 40 or 50 feet where I was placed.

This is Sue. The parade exists today because 4 years ago Sue asked why there was no Veterans parade in this small hamlet that has a parade for almost any reason. Her late husband was a Vietnam vet who died too soon. This parade is a labor of love that honors her Gary.

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Actually, it’s not just a parade. Sue finds new ways to honor vets each year. This year there were restaurants cooking for Vets, discounts all around town, a 21 gun salute, and even an art show. Gary is smiling on you, Sue.

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Thank you, sirs.

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This bloodhound howled in time with the bagpipes at the front of the parade.

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Thank you, Sirs.

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Marching in honor of the Vietnam era.

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Sparky marches in honor of his Grandpa

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USMC Bulldog – he wanted to take on that bloodhound

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Red white and blue.

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Semper Fi

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In honor of WWI

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Thank you, Sirs.

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Poppy Guy

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Thank you, Sir.

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Margo forgoes the clown makeup of this parade.

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Thank you!

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Welcome home.

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As the parade ended someone sang the national anthem. Everything stopped. I confess I think of that anthem in terms of baseball games. These men see it as something much more profound.

To all vets – I sincerely want to say, I thank you for your service.

20 thoughts on “The Faces of Veterans Day

  1. Wonderful portraits, and a fabulous tribute to all those who have served. Well done on putting a face (or faces) to the holiday/observance. There are quite a few vets in my family too, including one of the last WWII vets that we know.

  2. It’s nice to see someone paying tribute to our verterans in an event like this rather than trying to sell furniture, clothes, or cars on Veterans Day.

    M. Breid

  3. Exceptional!!! Those faces tell a story, don’t they? My dad was asked to haul a tank to a Veteran’s Day parade once. I wish I had the photo of him standing in front of it with some vets in uniform after he unloaded it. I know images of tanks and soldiers send some people into a peace monger spasm and I’ll be the first to say peace beats war any day of the week, but these shots are classic examples of a servants heart, deserving of honor, respect and yes, a parade! I wonder what sort of tone will be set for Veteran’s Day parades of the future.

    • I have a couple of tank shots from my great uncle Newt in Normandy – I posted them on FB years ago and got some flack about it. Good thing Newt had a tank, he needed it to save the world:)

      I love the idea of something so warlike as a tank used in a peaceful parade. We have a huey suspended over a local park – I don’t look at it as a symbol of war, more like a relic. That chopper was somewhere where it was desperately needed. Now it is hovering over a playground. It made it’s way home.

      I hope Veteran’s day parades will continue to be thankful occasions – My pop and my uncles served at a time when they didn’t get much appreciation for their service. It’s so good that we can express gratitude now, no matter where you stand on the war.

      Thank you for your service – I appreciate it!

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