Columbus Parade Honors Those Who Have Served In Military


UPDATED: Friday November 8, 2013 5:34 PM

It is Veterans Day weekend.

The celebration of our nation's heroes began Friday with the annual Veterans Day parade in Downtown Columbus.

Thousands of Central Ohioans lined the streets to showing their gratitude to the men and women who served our country.

While many fought in wars decades ago, there is also a new generation of heroes.

"It's just an honor and a privilege to look across this formation to see combat veterans, just like their grandfathers were from an Ohio unit," said Colonel Gordon Ellis of the Ohio National Guard 37th Infantry Brigade Combat Team.

Different conflicts, different generations all share a common bond.

James Giuffre, 27, served as a specialist in the 37th Infantry Brigade Combat Team.

He returned from Afghanistan just about 10 months ago.

"I think that's why vets get along so well with other vets, because they can relate to the experiences.." said Spec. Giuffre. "And you come back, and a lot of things change. Your perspectives, the things you take for granted before, you don't necessarily take for granted anymore."

They marched alongside veterans from World War II, through Operation Enduring Freedom.

"As you look around, the same things are happening throughout towns across America," said Command Sergeant Major Tom Watson. "And it's just a day we can all share a bond -- us veterans and those who have not served."

Watson, from Bellefontaine, was one of about 250 soldiers marching in this parade, being honored as part of the 2,000 members of this unit, who returned from a deployment to Afghanistan late last year.

Every year, we celebrate Veterans Day on November 11.

But because the holiday will fall on a Monday this year, parade organizers decided to hold this annual tradition on Friday, instead.

Among the floats and high school bands, they marched in step -- this combat team sharing a part of history, fighting for our freedom.

"The last time they deployed was in World War II. So, we literally are following in the steps of our grandfathers and our fathers," said Col. Ellis. "And I think our soldiers understand the history that they're making today."

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