Wednesday, November 12, 2008

REPORTER BLOG: Honoring Local Heroes

By: Shana O'Malley

Getting into the Spirit
I have to admit, when I woke up on the crisp Veterans Day morning I was less than thrilled about going to cover the parade (after all, it was my day off school) but, when I got up to Court Street, my mood changed quickly. High school bands, veterans groups, elementary school kids with banners and floats designed by local businesses flooded the Uptown street. It was hard not to smile and have a good time. It wasn’'t the music and the candy throwing that made me grin, it was the people there who lined the street in freezing temperatures to honor their local vets.

Little Girl, Big Support
As the ceremony was about to begin, I noticed a little girl standing in front of me. She looked about four or five and she clung to her grandpa who was dressed in civil war looking garb. I watched her put her tiny hand over her heart and speak every word of the Pledge of Allegiance so passionately. It really made me wonder what the day meant to the little girl.

When I looked around at the crowd that had gathered by the Soldiers and Sailors Monument I realized that it wasn't just the girl, but it was everyone there who was passionate. Everyone there was there for an important reason, to salute their loved ones as well as strangers who have protected them.

Local Vets
While I was Uptown I spoke with a few local vets who made me realize that I really don’t know anything about the military! The guys were nice enough to explain to me what the American Legion was as well as why they think it is important for the city to commemorate the holiday.

One man I interviewed said something to me that really stuck, he said, "freedom doesn’t come cheap". I have heard similar lines like that before, but the way he said it, so matter of fact, really made me understand what he was talking about.

After it All
After the two hour event I was chilled to the bone (I actually think I am still thawing from it) but my heart felt a little warmer. It was really touching to see the city come together to support their heroes.

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