Boiseans turned out in force to honor veterans in all branches of the military in an annual parade that began with an A-10 flyover and ended with another flyover by two Blackhawk helicopters.
“Talk about spectacular, eh?” said Walt Smith, executive director of the parade.
In between, about 2,700 participants — representing all branches of the military — and spectators braved the damp and chilly weather.
“It’s all about tradition and legacy. And what a time to celebrate, especially this time in America,” said Smith. “The American legacy — right now in front of us.”
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And, he added, the parade is about celebrating all veterans. “Veterans from today — and from the the past, and future veterans.”
Although Veterans Day is not until next Saturday, Nov. 11, Boise’s parade is traditionally held on the first Saturday in November. In part, says Sean Warren, one of the organizers, because the Air and Army National Guard work on the first weekend of the month and they are a significant number of the personnel and equipment in the parade.
“And (the week difference) … actually extends the recognition of our veterans and the sacrifices that they have made and continue to make,” Warren says.
On the sidewalk, Milo Gross wore parts of his great-grandfathers’ World War II uniforms. Ethan Hurn hoped for candy; flags waved. On the street, bands played patriotic music while Girl Scouts, motorcycles, military equipment, politicians and not one, but two giant potatoes paraded in salute of veterans.
“I know I’m the organizer,” says Smith. “But this was the best parade I’ve ever seen.”