Veterans' groups gather in Virginia City

Veterans marched next to high school color guards and military Jeeps during Virginia City's Veterans Day parade Monday.

Businesses on C Street provided the backdrop as moms and dads stood on the boardwalk. Children squeezed into the front, jostling for position as veterans threw candy from vans, cars and military vehicles.

November's chill was lost to a bright winter sun and a light breeze barely lifted the flags.

"I thought it was wonderful, though I wish more people had turned out to honor these veterans," said Reno resident Jeanne Young.

She and friend Holly Johnson, who watched the parade from lawn chairs, both said they enjoyed the intimate, hometown setting.

"We live just a mile from downtown Reno, but we decided to come here," Johnson said.

"It was a beautiful ride on a beautiful day, and Virginia City is always wonderful," Young said.

Long-time Virginia City resident Bob Del Carlo acted as master of ceremonies, announcing veterans' groups from all over Northern Nevada.

Children and adults applauded loudly for David Fitzgerald, commanding officer of the USS Nevada. Members of the VFW Dayton Valley Post 8660 stood proudly next to members of the Korean War Veterans Association. American Legion Post 53 members preceded the Incline Highlanders ROTC.

Retired gunnery sergeant Robert Ward, a member of Fort Churchill Post 288, watched the crowd after the parade from his wheelchair. A Marine Corps veteran, he served in Vietnam from 1969 to 1970.

"I'm here so people don't forget," he said.

Diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 1984, it is that disease and not the war that put him in a wheelchair. He said he'd be proud to serve again.

After the parade, high school ROTC cadets gathered in small knots up and down the boardwalk. Families stopped to shop while veterans gathered to talk about old times at the Bucket of Blood, Delta and Ponderosa saloons.

The Senior Citizens' Center hosted a pasta lunch for all veterans while the bells of St. Mary of the Mountains Catholic Church tolled patriotic tunes.


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