Honoring Gary Veterans Day Parade Marches On
Sue Glave's husband Gary, a two-tour Vietnam veteran, once mentioned that the group he served with never got a parade when they came home. She replied, "Don't worry, Honey, one of these I'll walk in a parade for you."
For the past three years, she has walked in a parade, carrying Gary's picture or the flag that draped his coffin when he died in 2004 of leukemia connected to exposure to Agent Orange.
Glave, co-owner of Tin Man and Glitz, is the coordinator of the Eureka Springs Veterans Day Parade, a community event that she restarted three years ago. The grand marshals of this year's parade, which is on Saturday, are the Walking Veterans, veterans of all ages who are able to walk the route. Others ride in cars.
"We had 13 World War II vets last year," Glave said.
City and county police, fire and emergency vehicles will lead off the parade, which starts down Spring Street from the library at 10 a.m.
Bagpiper Joel Wren will play as the American Legion Color Guard: Sgt. Baker, Phil Kimball, Jeremy Putts and Larry Foster, parades the colors, followed by the military Color Guard with service flags: Morris Pate/Army, Earl Hyatt/Marine Corps, Sue Goldberg/Air Force, Tony Vasquez/Navy, Randy Haven/Coast Guard, and Dan Collins, the P.O.W. flag.
Color Guard members were chosen for their military service.
"We don't have politicians in cars," Glave said.
Glave started the parade in 2009 after she asked why Eureka Springs didn't have a Veterans Day parade on Melodye Purdy's community broadcast. James DeVito called in and said, "Why don't you start one?" and Glave did, even though she only had a few weeks to pull it together.
She marches behind the veterans in the Family Section, where friends and family who have loved ones, living or dead, who served their country are welcome to walk, carrying a photo or other memento.
The first year, Glave carried Gary's photo. The second, the flag from his coffin.
"Last year, my grandson, who is in the National Guard was in Afghanistan, and I wore an Oklahoma 45th Division t-shirt," Glave said.
The Independent Vets motorcycle group, school musicians, Civil War re-enactors, horses and floats make up the parade.
The Pine Mountain Jamboree float will carry Mike and Dale Bishop and Buster the Wonder Dog, who is big enough to wear bunting. Hidden Valley Guest Ranch is providing a horse unit, along with the riderless horse.
The boots are placed in the stirrups backwards to represent the commander riding back to check on his troops one last time, Glave said, noting that the riderless horse was part of John F. Kennedy's funeral procession.
There will be a Wounded Warrior float, and the Veterans for Peace will march, and invite people to march with them.
"The parade is not about war," Glave said. "It's about honoring our veterans. It's not political."
The parade ends at Basin Park, where Sharon Keck Parker will sing the national anthem. Veterans and parade participants are invited to a reception with food and music at a downtown venue.
"Last year, we fed 150 people", Glave said.
On Sunday, Nov. 11, at 11 a.m. members of American Legion Post No. 9 will fire a volley in the parking lot of the Auditorium. The tradition was started to commemorate the signing of the armistice at 11 a.m. on Nov. 11, 1918, that ended World War 1.
Traditionally, 2 minutes of silence are observed as a sign of respect for the 20 million people who died in that war and the families they left behind.
Legion members provide honor guards and gun salutes at military funerals, Glave said. She still has the shells from the bullets that were fired to salute Gary's passing.
Five years later, she fulfilled his request for a parade.
Line-up for the Veterans Day Parade is 9 a.m. Saturday at the Carnegie Public Library, 194 Spring St. No pre-registration required. For more information, contact Sue Glave, 580-399-5887.