Well yesterday I took part in my very first parade. I along with 8 of my recently returned soldiers from OIF, their families and my own Hunter and Jordan marched in the Lockport, NY memorial day parade. It was a pretty nice to see my guys honored by not only the elementary classes from Charles Upson Elementary School but also the people of Lockport. There was a lot of waving, clapping, and saluting from the observers which was nice. However the best thing to see and the thing that made me the most proud was watching the people stand. As SGT Colangelo and SPC Truesdell led the group carrying the US Flag and NYS Flag, people with ( I am assuming) military backgrounds and strong senses of patriotism would stand and clap.
The best part of those were the people that saluted and took their hats off. These are defiantly people that understand the sacrifices made for the Flag and probably have suffered blood, sweat, and tears for it. There were people of all ages, races, genders that did this, but it was the old vets, the guys that were well into their senior years that stood as straight as their bodies would let them and saluted. They took off their Semper Fi hats, Vietnam Vet hats, Korean War hats, etc. and had a pure sense of pride in their faces as these two young men carrying the flags and 6 of their brethren behind them walked in their desert combat uniforms. These 8 soldiers surrounded by their families that kept the home fires burning for the year they were gone and followed by approximately 60 5th and 6th graders that had adopted these guys. It was good in many ways. For the vets, for the soldiers to see those that had walked before them, and for the kids following. Patriotism is not taught in schools these days the way it used to be, and there is no classroom that can teach what was shown by these people along that route. I personally tried to make eye contact with every â€œold guy and galâ€ I saw stand. I would usually nod towards them and then would nod back and smile. Near the end was an older lady with a cane sitting in her chair. It took everything she had to stand out of that chair with that cane, and she did. I am not sure if she was a vets wife, daughter or what, but I am sure there was a connection there.
Afterwards it was time for me to pay tribute. I drove down to Holy Cross cemetery and visited my soldier, SGT David Roustum. Of course I was not the only one. There was one of Daveâ€™s old friends there, along with SGT Chris Roberts and his wife fresh from the parade also. Chris and I placed two flags at the head of the grave from the parade. Dave could not be there with us physically but there is no doubt he was there 100% spiritually as he was on everyoneâ€™s mind. It was the first time I saw this gravesite without snow on it. It was good to see the foot marker, but I am very upset that the headstone is not there yet. I will talk about that in a later rant. This entry is not the place for that.
God Bless our Troops and Support them all, even if it is with a â€œThank Youâ€