Marietta parade honors veterans

Marietta High School’s marching band, the Wall of Sound, shares patriotic tunes as they make their way down Putnam Street Monday. (Photo by Janelle Patterson)

MARIETTA — Attendees of the Veterans Day Parade in Marietta weren’t looking for candy when they lined Putnam Street Monday.

“We talked on the way over about how we’re here to say thank you,” said Nancy Morehead, 59, of Boaz, as she shepherded her grandchildren, husband, sister and daughter across the street prior to the parade. “These children are privileged that they don’t have any immediate family who has served in a war, but they do have a heritage of relatives who have. And we talked about how those sacrifices aren’t to be taken lightly and they should be proud of their heritage.”

Morehead’s grandson, Willem Nuhfer, 9, of Boaz, explained that he had learned in school about veterans and what the annual recognition day means.

“We’re free and safe because they fought for us,” he said as he waved an American flag in the chilly wind Monday.

Nuhfer, and his cousins Jesse Morris, 9, and Justus Morris, 6, shouted thank you throughout the parade to the passing veterans and danced to the patriotic songs played by Marietta High School’s marching band.

The three were even excited to receive an artificial poppy from Liberty Smith, 5, who walked in the parade with her father, Washington County Veteran Service Commissioner Jared Smith.

“Liberty told me when it was all finished today that it was the best day ever, and she stuck with me not only for the parade but also for the luncheon at the Masonic Temple afterward,” explained Smith. “She said she was stopped by a World War II veteran and he thanked her for helping him with his dishes and that made her feel so good.”

Smith said he let his daughter walk in the parade to help instill a sense of community service.

“I was passing out poppies to honor veterans,” explained Liberty. “My dad was a veteran and I like him so much.”

The poppy, since the First World War, has been used as a symbol of remembrance of war veterans lost, and for the welfare of those still remaining after conflict.

Korean War Veteran Bob Baumgarner, of Marietta, said he was thankful he could watch the parade.

“I didn’t walk, but I liked to see it,” he said. “It’s a good day to remember the sacrifices of all veterans.”

Baumgarner waved not only to the veterans of World War II, Vietnam and more recent conflicts, but also representatives from the Washington County Veteran Service Commission, the Order of the Purple Heart, Marietta College and the Marietta Shrine Club, all of whom marched in the parade.

Volunteer fire departments also followed the patriotic tunes resounding from Marietta High School’s marching band, Wall of Sound, led by the high school’s color guard and followed by Troop 207 of the Boy Scouts of America.