Military veterans today receive a great welcome home from the country and their communities.
However, this was not always the case. On Sept. 13, 2015, West Chester Army ROTC cadets attended and helped facilitate a welcome home parade for veterans from the Korean and Vietnam wars.
These men were not given a proper welcome home when they returned home from serving their country, and they certainly deserved one.
The parade took place in Brookhaven, PA and started at the Christian academy on Chandler drive.
West Chester ROTC provided the color guard for the entire parade and also had a group of cadets as helpers.
When the cadets arrived at the site of the parade, they were quickly put to work.
Some cadets helped hand out t-shirts to veterans depending on what war they served in.
The shirts helped the veterans to identify others who also served at the same time, but who they may have not known before.
Seeing all the veterans interact with one another was truly special.
Cadets quickly got roped into conversations and heard many stories from a variety of veterans from every branch.
Another group of cadets was assigned to help veterans into vehicles for the parade. However, the veterans quickly showed they weren’t taking any help and they could do it themselves, no matter their age.
This made many veterans happy to show that they could still do things on their own and quote “show the young kids how it’s done.”
The parade itself went through a nearby neighborhood before going to the main street.
The involvement of the community was incredible.
There were people in the neighborhood with signs set up and cheering for the veterans.
When the parade made its way to the main street, it was packed on both sides.
Seeing the number of people that came out to support the veterans was very special, and you could tell the veterans really appreciated it.
The local fire company paid tribute to the veterans by hanging a 50 foot flag from two engines.
After the parade there was a lunch-in hosted for the veterans.
All of the cadets were able to mingle with the veterans, get advice from them, and simply just talk with them.
This event allowed cadets to give back to those veterans who know what it means to serve their country and gain perspective on what’s important.
This event was a great success because of the tremendous support of the community and the incredible showing they had to honor the veterans.
Zach Nelson is a second-year student majoring in pre-business accounting. He can be reached at ZN824029@wcupa.edu.