Many veterans came home from war with no big welcoming event or hoopla. Those who didn't serve overseas end their time in the the service without any big ceremony. So many who served are making Saturday's parade their own way to soak in the gratitude for their commitment to their country.
A parade honoring all veterans and service members will be held at 10 a.m. Saturday in downtown Des Moines beginning at the Iowa Capitol and heading down Grand Avenue to Veterans Auditorium.
A group of dozens of area veterans are planning to take part in the parade.
T-R PHOTO BY ANDREW POTTER
A group of dozens of area veterans are planning to take part in the salute to veterans parade at 10 a.m. Saturday in Des Moines. Pictured are Marshalltown residents among that group including, from left, Cecil Buschbom, Mel Pitzen, Jeff Heiden and Larry Larson.
"I think it will be neat to have all the Iowa veterans see the appreciation from all the residents of Iowa there,"Jeff Heiden, a local Air National Guard veteran who served in Iraq, said.
Larry Larson is a local Vietnam War veteran who is looking forward to the parade.
"It's always a good feeling when people recognize you for what you did," Larson said.
If you go ...
WHAT: Salute to veterans and service members parade
WHEN: Saturday, 10 a.m.
WHERE: Des Moines, starts at State Capitol and heads down Grand Avenue
The local American Legion and VFW members are planning to car pool to the event, and the Iowa Veterans Home is taking a busload of veterans to be a part of the parade.
Korean War veteran Mel Pitzen is anticipating a great time of camaraderie with his fellow veterans.
"It's good to get together," Pitzen said.
Cecil Buschbom said when he came back from World War II he took a train back from Seattle, went home and that was it.
"I think this is a nice honor to the veterans," Buschbom said of the parade.
The idea for the parade came about from Gov. Terry Branstad as a way to salute all veterans. It was developed off a similar event to welcome home soldiers in 1991 from the first Iraq war.
"It is important to honor our heroes here at home," Branstad said. "As a former member of the Army, and now commander in chief of the Iowa National Guard, I am proud of the men and women who represent our state on the battlefields across the world and when disaster strikes here on the home front."