Parade honors veterans in Wausau - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

Parade honors veterans in Wausau

WAUSAU (WAOW) -- Amid all the barbecuing and time spent outdoors with family and friends, Memorial Day weekend is ultimately about honoring our country's veterans.

Wausau held its annual parade Saturday morning to do just that.

Veterans there said they really appreciated the support from the community.

They also said it's not just a weekend to say, "Thank you," but also to remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice.

The streets were lined with people who wanted to recognize America's veterans.

"It's prideful and there's also sorrow for people who have maybe lost their lives, but there's definitely a sense of emotion when they walk by," said Coleman Peiffer of Wausau.

The parade meant a lot to the veterans who took part.

"A lot of people would rather be out grilling and fishing than walking in a parade, but it's one of the things we have to do to honor our veterans," said Jeff Morgan, the president of the Man of Honor Society.

Dave Mandli remembers when he came back from being stationed on an air base in Vietnam. He says vets weren't as appreciated then as they are today, so he doesn't take this for granted.

"There was a time when the military wasn't allowed to even march in the parades," Mandli said. "After the Vietnam War, there was a lot of distaste for the military."

He says his experiences are with him every day.

"I went in as a teenager and I came out as somebody who someone could trust, somebody you could depend on, so it helped form who I am," said Mandli.

For Mandli and other veterans, Memorial Day is about remembering.

"We all knew somebody who lost a life," Mandli said. "It's just good that this nation remembers those who have given so much."

"We all come together today, as most other patriotic holidays, to honor our fallen vets who gave the ultimate sacrifice," said Morgan.

On this Memorial Day weekend, a community came together to show appreciation.

"We should honor these people who make it so that we can come to parades like this and enjoy nice cars and beautiful weather," said Peiffer. "At the end of the day, there's people over there fighting right now so we can do this."

Organizers say there were at least a thousand people in the parade.

Wausau Mayor Jim Tipple and State Representative Mandy Wright both spoke as part of the occasion.
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