Hundreds of people show support at Veterans Day Parade
SCOTTSBLUFF — On a brisk Saturday morning, the community lined East Overland in Scottsbluff to watch the annual Veterans Day parade.
Just before the parade began, the Air Link helicopter flew overhead twice.
Both children and adults smiled and carried American flags, military flags and signs thanking veterans for their service. As veterans made their way down East Overland, the crowd cheered.
Vietnam War Army veteran Ben Trevino said, “It was great and it gets bigger and bigger every year.”
As he and fellow Vietnam Army veteran Joe Perez watched the parade, they were reminded of the men and women who served our country and felt a sense of pride in their service.
“It’s important to honor people who served and help our country heal,” Trevino said.
Trevino invited Perez and his family to attend the Veterans Day program on Friday in Mitchell. He shared how he struggled once he returned from his service in Vietnam.
“When we came home, we were transferred at midnight and it wasn’t until later that I learned why,” he said.
Because of the nation’s hostility toward Vietnam War veterans, Trevino felt like a third-class citizen. It wasn’t until his granddaughter invited him to attend her Mitchell Public Schools Veteran’s Day program that he appreciated his sacrifice and service to his country.
Perez shared what he felt was the meaning behind the parade.
“It is a symbolic appreciation to veterans who sacrificed being with their families and loved ones and lived away from the comforts of their homes,” he said. “It’s a wonderful gesture.”
While every active duty soldier’s time ends, their transition back to civiliam life takes time.
“It’s a hard transition to home,” Perez said. “There’s a lot of healing going on.”
Saturday’s parade continued that healing process as the community came together to honor the men and women by showing their appreciation and support for their service.
Trevino shared how Vietnam was a very unconventional war because soldiers didn’t know who the enemy was, until they attacked them. The climate would transition from hot and dry to hot and wet, but he served his country to protect his family and nation.
Dolores Perez said the Veterans Day Parade is another way for the community to come together and for the youth to learn the meaning of Veterans Day and how much those who served sacrificed to protect the liberties of all Americans.
Once the parade concluded, the crowd quickly cleared the sidewalks as Trevino and Perez reflected on the classmates who lost their lives serving in Vietnam.
Saturday also marked the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I.