Every November my husband and I make our yearly trek up I-5 to watch the Annual Veterans Day parade in Albany, Oregon. With more than two hundred entries and as many as 40,000 spectators, the parade boasts of being 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.
The variety of entries never fails to amaze me. The Viet Nam veterans led the parade en masse on motorcycles of every make and size. People around me estimated the group of riders to contain at least two hundred bikes. The noise suggested the group might even be larger.
Veteran soldiers from wars past and present rode like royalty inside cars with signs posted on the vehicles telling of the soldier’s service, rank and the war in which he or she served. Marching units included all the branches of the military, men and women alike. Families of fallen soldiers rode in memory of their loved one, his or her picture mounted for all to witness.
Even the Civil War was represented by re-enactors dressed in period costume. Confederate and Union soldiers walked or rode horseback. Women dressed as wives, widows, and sweethearts followed. Marching bands from the local schools, a sheriff’s posse, and local businesses completed the parade.
The commemoration is a reminder our freedom to live as we do in the United States came with a price tag in the form of human lives. The strength of our military has protected us from aggressors who would like to see our way of life destroyed. No one likes war, but the sacrifices made by these men and women, past and present, should not be forgotten or taken for granted. They gave that we might live. Psalm 27:1-3.
Have a thankful Veterans Day.