Tazewell honors Veterans with parade, ceremony - WVVA TV Bluefield Beckley WV News, Weather and Sports

Tazewell honors Veterans with parade, ceremony


Though the day started as overcast and drizzly, the skies started to clear just in time for Tazewell's 6th annual Veteran's Day activities.

Hundreds lined Main Street for this year's parade. The parade included traditional sites, like police cars, fire trucks, and marching bands. A special feature of the parade, accompanied by a bagpipe playing Danny Boy, was the Southwest Virginia Wall of Fallen Warriors. Many veterans were in attendance. One such veteran was Tazewell resident Jack Charles, who served in the Army during the Vietnam War. "We were what you would call grunts. We went out into the boonies. The whole time I was on the front line; from the time I got there until I came home."
Were there ever times Charles was scared? "Every day... or every night. Especially on ambush patrols, you know."
When on those ambush patrols, Charles says sleep was a luxury. "Each position had five guys at each position. We would sleep, uh... each guy would take one hour, then pas it off to his buddy."
Charles says respect for he and other vets who served in Vietnam specifically has grown over the years. "A whole lot better. You know, I've been welcomed home the last five years more than I ever was. I wouldn't wear this hat five years ago. But now, I am proud of it."
After the parade, a ceremony was held to honor the veterans in attendance. The special speaker this year was Edie Lowry of Honor Flight Northeast Tennesseee. She says veterans often become more open about their battles after visiting the memorials that honor them in Washington, DC. "Once we go to the memorials, they come back home, and they had that closure at the memorials, they come home and start talking about it."
Charles says the Veterans Day parade and ceremony means a lot to him. "It's a great honor. It really is. Our flag, the national anthem... it all means the world to me."

If you are a veteran and would like to visit the war memorials in Washington, Lowry encourages Virginia residents to contact her at Honor Flight Northeast Tennesse... and Always Free Honor Flight in Princeton for residents of West Virginia.

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