Veterans remembered during annual Washington County parade

WASHINGTON CITY — Veteran’s Day kicked off with sunny skies and smiles as Southern Utah community members lined Telegraph Street in downtown Washington City for the Washington County Veterans Day Parade. (See ed. note)

The Washington City Veterans Day Parade, Washington City, Utah, Nov. 11, 2015 | Photo by Devan Chavez, St. George News
The Washington City Veterans Day parade, Washington City, Utah, Nov. 11, 2015 | Photo by Devan Chavez, St. George News

The parade officially kicked off at 11:11 a.m., but before the floats and fancy cars made their way down the street, volunteers atop all-terrain vehicles and on foot handed out miniature American flags to children and other visitors who wanted to sport the flag to show their support for the veterans.

Washington City Mayor Kenneth Neilson was one of those who headed the parade line, waving to those lining the streets and throwing out candy to children. This parade, he said, had an impressive turnout and helps him see how the Southern Utah community has grown together.

“We’re kind of combined now with all the cities,” Neilson said, “and (are) utilizing Washington City’s Veterans Day program as the kickoff for the Veterans Day celebration for all the vets.”

Overall, Neilson said, this year’s parade is the best one he’s seen, adding that he was quite impressed with the entire event.

The Washington City Veterans Day Parade, Washington City, Utah, Nov. 11, 2015 | Photo by Devan Chavez, St. George News
The Washington City Veterans Day parade, Washington City, Utah, Nov. 11, 2015 | Photo by Devan Chavez, St. George News

Not all the veterans were in the parade, however. World War II veteran Ed Baumgarten said he used to participate in the parade, but since the size of his group continues to dwindle, he chose to participate as a spectator this year.

Having served two combat tours overseas, Baumgarten said, he was eventually awarded a Purple Heart after a close call in a combat situation.

“(A Japanese soldier) threw a grenade and it landed right between my feet,” Baumgarten said. “I ran pretty fast, but not fast enough.”

Events like the parade are really positive for the community, Baumgarten said, because of how it brings everyone together.

“I think the parade carries the spirit of it a lot,” he said. “I think making people more aware of the veterans and of the things that have happened – I think it’s great.”

The Washington City Veterans Day Parade, Washington City, Utah, Nov. 11, 2015 | Photo by Brett Barrett, St. George News
The Washington City Veterans Day parade, Washington City, Utah, Nov. 11, 2015 | Photo by Brett Barrett, St. George News

Having a day like Veterans Day is important, Army Staff Sgt. Joshua Marion said, because it honors those who have dedicated a good portion of their lives to the cause.

“What I find special about Veterans day,” Marion said, “is (honoring) those that are currently serving, those that have served in the past and ultimately those who have paid the ultimate sacrifice.”

Following the parade, community members were invited to gather outside at Veterans Park for a program. The community was also invited to walk among the 1,000 American flags placed at the park and to contemplate the sacrifices made.

Ed. note: Name of event changed to “Washington County parade” per additional information received.

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Email: dchavez@stgnews.com

Twitter: @STGnews

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2015, all rights reserved.

 

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