Days of rain, accompanied by cold, forced my husband’s decision not to attend this year’s annual Veteran’s Day parade in Albany, a city forty miles north of us. The parade boasts more than two hundred entries and as many as 40,000 spectators, making it the largest of its kind west of the Mississippi. The event is organized and run by volunteers from the Veterans Commemoration Association, a local group. Of course, as soon as the decision was made, the sun came out, the skies cleared, and the temperatures rose—too late to change our minds.
The parade always holds special memories for us. Veteran soldiers from wars past and present ride like royalty inside cars with signs posted on their doors telling of the soldier’s service, rank, and the war in which he or she served. Marching units include all the branches of the military, men and women alike. Even the Civil War is represented by re-enactors dressed in period costume. Confederate and Union soldiers walk or ride horseback. Women dress as wives, widows, and sweethearts follow. Marching bands from the local schools, a sheriff’s posse, and local businesses complete the parade.
Though we didn’t get to see it, I know the parade commemorates the heroes among us, those brave men and women who sacrificed part or all of themselves to preserve the freedoms we enjoy. Our culture and way of life came with a heavy price tag, punctuated with the blood of human lives. The strength of our military has protected us from aggressors who would like to see our nation destroyed. No one likes or chooses war, but the sacrifices made by these men and women, past and present, should not be taken for granted nor forgotten. They gave that we might live. Psalm 27:1-3.
Thank you, Veterans. All of you.