From Marines to beauty queens, the 14th Annual Springfield Veteran's Day Parade had the largest number of entries ever. The parade honors all who served in the Armed Services. KLCC's Tiffany Eckert was along the parade route Sunday afternoon and has this report.
As the parade begins, on-lookers line the streets waving small American flags. Eugene Highlander bagpipe band marches behind the color guard. (bagpipes playing) Excited kids stand at the ready to catch the candy that flies from parade floats. This is one of the ways the city of Springfield pays respect for veterans.
Curt Greer is staging manager for the parade. He's been volunteering for this Veteran's Day Parade more than a decade.
Greer: "Getting them all started up, lined up down here so that they come out in order."
Greer is a veteran himself. He served from 1954 to 1962.
Greer: "I was right in between Korea and Nam. I was one of the lucky ones."
Reporter: "In what branch did you serve?"
Greer: "U.S. Marine Corps. Is there any other branch? (laugh) I shouldn't say that 'cuz they're all important."
Patrick Knox is decked out in a well worn biker jacket. He served in the U.S. Army in the 1980's.
Knox: "Joined when I was seventeen. My mom and dad had to sign for me to go in."
Reporter: "Any regrets?"
Knox: "No ,not at all. Not at all. Well, I take that back. My only regret, I wish I would have stayed in."
Knox is a member of the Clean and Sober Motorcycle Club and he's riding in the parade with scores of other bikers to honor vets.
Reporter: "What will you be thinking about when you ride this parade route today?"
Knox: "Well I have a nephew that served over in Iraq and Afghanistan on several different tours and he's in my heart right now." (Motorcycles revving)
Penny Lowman is a lifelong resident of Springfield. She's brought two of her granddaughters out to watch the parade.
Lowman:"I had some family members that were in the services so we just come to support. Got my flag in hand."
Reporter: "Are you looking forward to a particular part of this parade?"
Lowman: "We like it all. The horses are really pretty. They're beautiful. They have really pretty colored horses."
Child: "I like the candy."
As the parade moves past Steve Handran, the 78 year old stands stock still. He's wearing an American
Legion "Past Commander" cap.
Reporter: "Did you have a good experience in the military?"
Handran: "Yes, I did. I served in Army intelligence so I wasn't actually in combat."
Reporter: "It's a beautiful day today isn't it?"
Handran:" Excellent, pretty day. I was worried when I saw the weather report about a week ago that there could be some rain. But, God blessed us today." ("Amazing Grace" plays on bagpipes)