Veterans Day parade shows off Altoona pride

What a parade we saw on Veterans Day in Altoona. The neighboring communities, along with the city groups, made me so proud to be from this area.

I was “First on Station,” April 23, 1965, in Vietnam. When President Johnson declared the Vietnam conflict in 1965, our ship was first to arrive because we were in the ready condition.

There were already MAAG (Military Advisory Assistance Groups) groups there for a number of years prior. We were the beginning of many additions of readiness.

So, as a Vietnam veteran, I was so impressed and appreciative to see such a long parade Monday in Altoona. The make-up of the parade was impressive.

I have not missed a Veterans Day parade in quite a few years, and I always appreciated the efforts put forth by the participants.

But this parade seemed different. It was not just because it was exceptionally long, but because of what made it so long.

The participants were not just from Altoona and Logan Township as usual, but I saw 74 different units. I noticed units from Bellwood, Bishop Guilfoyle, then there were numerous teams of very young people performing with just marching in the cold to twirling batons, cheerleaders and presenting colors.

There were Girl Scouts, Shriner teams and all types of military equipment among the area fire equipment. Then, all of a sudden, I saw bands I did not recognize. Those standing around me had the same reaction as I did. Wow! They traveled from outside Altoona to march in our parade to demonstrate there appreciation for our veterans.

And it was cold, folks. And they all did their thing to make known their appreciation of our vets. They made me proud to be from such an appreciative area.

Jan Mills Sr., Altoona

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