ALBANY/SPRINGFIELD, Ore. — Sunday was Veterans Day, a day of giving thanks to those who fought and are still fighting to protect our country. Residents throughout Western Oregon spent the weekend honoring our local heroes.
In both Albany and Springfield, folks gathered to watch a patriotic parade all to support the people who fight for our freedom and safety every day.
“Without the military and the veterans, we wouldn’t be here,” said Albany parade spectator Nina Phillips.
For many, November 11th is more than just a holiday.
“This is a moment to reflect on all those in service, for all these millions of Americans in uniform who have served this country, to express thanks and gratitude for their service,” said Adjutant General Fred Rees of the Oregon National Guard.
In Albany, thousands gathered on Saturday for the largest Veterans Day Parade west of the Mississippi to do just that. With more than 200 entries, it was quite a sight to be seen and heard. The thousands in attendance were not short of entertainment, but for those being recognized, it was all about the crowds.
“It makes you humble you know. What do you say? The people have just been so magnificent,” said Jorge Roe, World War II veteran.
On Sunday, Springfield residents also gathered to pay tribute. Despite the gray skies and drops of rain, crowds lined the parade route.
Parade spectator Sabrina Clocksin said, “As far as I’m concerned, it doesn’t make a difference what the weather is you know. Our vets need the support of everybody here. We wouldn’t have this luxury if it weren’t for them.”
“The veterans have done so much for us. It’s very little to ask us to come out and endure a little bit of weather to say thank you for all they’ve done for us,” said parade participant Wendy Lightheart.
The crowds cheered on each and every group that came along, providing those who’ve served or are currently serving, the support they need.
“It means a lot, but it’s really hard to go through. It’s really hard to go through, I’ll tell ya,” said Korean and Vietnam veteran James Arnold.
Each of these events is planned and organized by volunteers, months in advance. Veterans and active military members say they are grateful for the vast amounts of effort and time.