Veterans Day Parade ends but celebration continues

COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - The annual fourth Veterans Day parade took place on Nov. 9.

Hundreds of people gathered the streets of downtown Columbus early Saturday morning to get the best view of the parade. Men and women in uniform rode in cars and motorcycles, people in costumes brightened up the parade and many excited people thanked the veterans as well.

"Sometimes we forget that the freedom we enjoy is because they choose to put themselves in harm to protect our freedom," Mayor Teresa Tomlinson said.

Sam Nielson, the president of Chattahoochee Veterans Council, also attended the event and spoke about the importance of remembering and honoring the veterans.

"One day, the soldiers serving out country will grow old too," Nielson explained. "Many forget to realize that old veterans on the street had stood their ground for us. Our freedom was not free. We don't really go out of our ways to honor those who fought for us. The Veterans Day parade is the only big way, if you think about it."

Columbus spent the last 50 years without Veterans Day parade. Eddie Safford, the commander of American Legion Post 267, said he was one of the veterans who helped plan the first parade four years ago.

"We have a heavy concentration of the veterans in our area, so not to have a parade seemed wrong," Safford explained. "People don't understand what it is like. Families of the veterans also struggle too. When veterans sacrifice their time to serve our country and not watch their children grow up or celebrate anniversaries with their spouses, it's hard. It is like starting your family all over again when you come back because you missed out on so much."

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