More than 5,000 spectators lined both sides of Hay Street in downtown Fayetteville to see marching bands, floats, military vehicles and troops in formation, Saturday at the 2012 Veterans Day Parade. Cheers, applause and words of thanks filled the air as the XVIII Airborne Corps, led by Lt. Gen. Daniel B. Allyn, XVIII Abn. Corps and Fort Bragg commanding general, with Command Sgt. Maj. Isaia T. Vimoto, the corps’ command sergeant major riding in a humvee, led the paratroopers past the crowd.
“I think any time the community comes out to thank its veterans, it’s not only reinforcing the service that has been given but encouraging others to serve. George Washington got it right when he said the way we treat our veterans determines those who want to serve in the future,” said Allyn.
Soldiers and Airmen from various units on Fort Bragg marched down Hay Street along with various military vehicles towing artillery weapons. Past and future servicemembers also marched in the parade including Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps from area high schools, Veterans of Foreign Wars and American Legion posts and other military and civilian associations.
Many veterans from World War II up to the present war in Afghanistan attended the parade.
“One of the best ones I’ve seen yet,” said Alva Rozier, a Korean War veteran wearing his Marine Corps dress blue uniform.
Saturday was also the 237th anniversary of the U.S. Marine Corps, said Rozier.
Some of the veterans shared stories of their past experiences.
Edwin Drews talked about what it was like to serve in Korea in 1952.
“I’ve never seen colder weather in my life. I was born and raised in Illinois but I never thought I would see 48 below zero. That’s why I married a southern girl,” said Drews.