One of the really great aspects of being the City Eagle's "street reporter" is that I have the opportunity to share in many meaningful celebrations in the Syracuse area. Last week on three separate days, I had the chance to share in celebrations that honored our area's military veterans on three distinct levels.
Day 1 -- Saturday, November 7 -- South Salina Street
On Saturday, the annual Onondaga County Veterans Parade kicked off near Clinton Square at noon. Typically, it was comprised of numerous veterans groups -- American Legion, VFW, Korean War Veterans, Disabled American Veterans and others. True to tradition, there were high school marching bands, active duty military personnel, uniformed law enforcement and firefighters and elected officials. There was the flyover in missing man formation, jets appearing from nowhere, roaring south above Salina Street and disappearing.
And there were the people -- the crowd lining the street several deep, the people who came out on a gorgeous autumn day to cheer and to wave small American Flags, the people who came out to a parade to spend an hour saying thank you to men and women who were not looking to be thanked. There was the man who ran from vehicle to vehicle to shake hands and say thank you. There were the veterans in the crowd wearing parts of uniforms long since packed away, saluting at every passing of the colors. There were men and women and children -- old and young -- grasping photos of loved ones that had served, many who had given that "last full measure of devotion" for their country.
It was pretty much the same as it is every year -- except that every year there are more to be remembered, more to be mourned, more to be honored, more to be thanked. And it seems that every year, there are more who realize the rightness of doing so, and turn out as they did on Saturday -- to wave a flag and say thank you in the glorious sunshine.