Steve Lubbering and his son Tanner, 6, smiled Monday as a tall bike from the beginning of the 20th century rolled down Broadway as part of the Memorial Day parade. Its front wheel was taller than Tanner.
“This bike is not like yours,” Lubbering said to his son. “You’ll fall a long way if you ride this.”
The two have been to the parade every year for as long as Tanner can remember. Sitting on Broadway and Seventh Street, they counted the vintage Corvettes passing by, applauded the participants and looked for familiar faces.
“It’s a chance to honor the veterans,” said Lubbering, whose father served in Vietnam. “It’s just a chance to go out and realize what a great country we live in.”
Groups of veterans from World War II, the Korean War, the Vietnam War and Operation Desert Storm strolled down Broadway in vintage vehicles, fire trucks or on huge platforms, followed by high school bands, Boy Scouts of America and clowns. The parade honored veterans of the past but also reminded the audience of the current conflict in Iraq. Signs with “End the occupation,” “Bring them home” and “Support our troops” could be seen on the sidewalks.
On the corner of Broadway and Hitt Street, Jan Martin was watching with her son while her husband, Jerry, was participating. Martin said she comes every year because her husband is a veteran of Desert Storm, her father is a veteran from World War II, and she works in the Truman Veterans Hospital.
“It’s a way to remember the veterans,” she said. “The older people come because it has a different meaning for them. But the younger need to get exposed, too.”