Day Trippin’ to Veterans Parade – well worth the trip

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By SANDY JOHANSEN / Staff writer

Seeing not just hundreds, but thousands, of veterans participating and witnessing Branson, Missouri’s annual tribute parade, was a significant day trip for this writer, and will be on her calendar to attend future Nov. 11 marches.Branson’s veterans homecoming week is America’s largest Veterans Day celebration. It begins Nov. 5 and runs through Nov. 11, culminating in an honor parade second to none. Weekly events include each branch of the military’s reunion celebrations.The parade was organized by the Vietnam Veterans American Chapter 913. It is held yearly at the 11th hour, on the 11th day of the 11th month. It is a time to truly say “thank you” and honor all those who served and are currently serving.There were marching bands, floats and most prominently, veterans riding in appropriate military vehicles of their generation.This writer was privileged to visit with many of the men and women who were in attendance, including veterans from WWII, Korea, Vietnam, Desert Storm, Iraqi Freedom and Afghanistan.Duane Webb, traveling from California to participate, teasingly bragged about being able to wear his WWII navy uniform. “I served from 1945 to 1946 in the South Pacific, the island of Leyte. It was rough, but I had my shipmates right along aside of me,” Webb said. “I enjoy talking with others here at the parade about service in the Pacific. It’s been a long, long time but I remember all of it.”Three Vietnam Army vets said they have been to the Branson parade every year. John Joyner, service 1965 to 1966, was in the 2nd Battalion, 17th artillery. Roy Hester was in the 10th engineering company from 1968 to 1970. Donald Ferrell, 18th artillery from 1968 to 1969, said “We all travel here from North Carolina and we wouldn’t miss it.” “It’s great …


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