Veterans Association of America, Inc.
Sunday, May 24, 2020
Serving those who've served this Country

A Memorial Day Salute To Those Who've Served

Patriotism, pomp presented for veterans
By Gary Emerling and Michael Hunsberger
May 30, 2006 

Becky Boyd couldn't keep the tears from coming yesterday as she watched hundreds of military veterans march by her during the second annual National Memorial Day Parade.

"I just love my country," said Miss Boyd, 40, who came to the parade with her boyfriend, James Murray, a disabled former Army Ranger. "We're lucky to be free because of all these people."

The couple, who came from Erie, Pa., to Washington for Memorial Day weekend, were among the thousands that lined Constitution Avenue for the noon event, which featured more than 3,000 participants.

The parade began with a military flyover and the Pledge of Allegiance led by six Medal of Honor recipients. It ended with more than 600 military personnel who had returned recently from the war on terror marching from Constitution Avenue to 15th Street Northwest to Pennsylvania Avenue.

In between, high school bands from across the country, active-duty personnel and hundreds of veterans -- including Lloyd Brown, a 106-year-old World War I veteran -- passed by to the applause of the onlookers, who waved miniature American flags to show their patriotic support.

Academy Award-nominated actor Gary Sinise served as the grand marshal of the event, which was held on a particularly warm pre-summer day.

"It's important to recognize the troops," said Rick Pullen, 43, of Alexandria. "Whether you support the war or not, you've still got to support the military."

Demisha White, 9, and Paige Harrington, 7, sat under an umbrella before the parade and waited for their Girl Scout troop's time to march.

"We have to walk in the parade and wave our hands like this," said Demisha, performing a classic Miss America-type wave. "It's important because we're representing our Girl Scout troop leader."

"And people that fight and die for our country," chimed in Paige.

Mary Porteus, who mouthed the words to "God Bless America" during a pre-parade performance, said she and her family came to the parade to honor all the veterans.

"I'm a veteran, my husband's a veteran, my daughter's in the Navy," said Mrs. Porteus, in her 50s, of Laurel. "You've got to come to the nation's capital on a day like today."