News: Veterans Day: Honoring the ones who served the nation
Story by Sgt. Shanika Futrell
CLARKSVILLE, Tenn. - Veterans of the past, present and even those of the future marched Nov. 10 for nearly three hours in the downtown Clarksville, Tenn., Veterans Day Parade, an annual exhibition where they patriotically celebrate the men and women who have served in the U.S. military armed forces.
The parade consisted of more than 1,000 spectators, civilian and military participants to include the soldiers of the 159th Combat Aviation Brigade and 101st Airborne Division.
"I love parades," screamed Maddison Cunningham, a 4-year-old girl, as she waved her miniature American flag. "My nana is a vet, so I'm here to support her and all the other people (who have served)."
Loud and boisterous screams were heard from blocks away as veterans of the different services, Junior Reserves Officers' Training Corps, and various high school bands chanted and marched down the streets of Clarksville.
"Happy Veterans Day," screamed children and adults of all ages.
"Thank you for your service," yelled a little boy to the veteran.
Soldiers, proud to be a part of the 101st Airborne Division, followed the color guard through the parade route and heard the crowd screaming and cheering.
"It's an honor to be a part of something as wonderful as this," said Spc. Marcus Carter, a Pathfinder with 4th Battalion, 101st Aviation Regiment, 159th Combat Aviation Brigade. "It makes me feel (like I'm) a part of something bigger than myself."
"I'm excited to be a part of history, to see the people who were here before me and set the example for the people who will be after me," said Spc. Joseph Welker, a Blackhawk helicopter repairer with Company C, 4th Bn., 101st Avn. Rgt.
Spectators said this parade is an annual tradition they faithfully support to pay the respect to American veterans. The 101st Airborne Division soldiers and the Clarksville community pulled together once again to make this happen.
"I attended this parade… last year, and I am here this time supporting my friend's son who goes to West Creek and all veterans," said Deidre Merejo, an Army veteran who flew UH-60M Blackhawks with the 101st Combat Aviation Brigade. "This parade is a good tribute to the people who were in service, who are currently serving and to the ones who will be joining in the future. This day gives them the recognition for the hard work they do on a daily basis."
Though struggles come and go for soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines, and Coast Guardsmen, they never back down from the challenging deployments the Nation's call may bring. They are the American people's strength and guardians - then, now and for generations to come.