COLUMBIA — Retired Navy Lt. Cmdr. Allan Purdy was looking sharp Monday morning in his 50-year-old uniform and enjoying the 19th Salute to Veterans Parade on East Broadway when a member of the American Legion asked him if he’d like to join the group on the float.
“They picked me up, took me down Broadway to Sixth Street and then turned around and dropped me off right back where I started,” Purdy said, laughing.
Veterans and children alike waved American flags as the parade rolled down Broadway. An oversized American flag flapped in the wind at the intersection of Broadway and 10th Street.
After the parade, Purdy, 93, who lives in Columbia, talked about his World War II service. He was a patrol torpedo boat captain in the Mediterranean. His assignment was to “get the Germans out of the Mediterranean,” he recalled.
“It (WWII) was a good assignment because it was a specific objective,” Purdy said. “If you’re going to be in a war, it’s nice to know who you’re fighting, why you’re there, and what your objective is.”
Buzz Aldrin and his wife, Lois, were honored guests of the parade, and Chris Egbert was the parade marshal.
After the parade ended, the 83rd Memorial Day Courthouse Ceremony was held to honor veterans of American wars.
Fulton native Maj. Gen. Byron S. Bagby gave the Memorial Day message where he said the armed forces “collectively are our nation’s greatest national treasure.”
The presentation of memorial wreaths was the final event.
The Boone County Fire District Pipes and Drums played “Amazing Grace,” and a single trumpet player from the Columbia Community Band played “Echo Taps” from atop the courthouse parking garage. The ceremonies closed with the “Military Medley” by the Columbia Community Band, during which veterans were encouraged to stand when their military branch’s music was played.