EDWARDSVILLE – American flags, veterans and an abundance of patriotism and thankfulness on the part of those who attended was visible throughout the annual Edwardsville Veterans Day Parade sponsored by Edwardsville American Legion Post 199 through downtown on Friday night.
The American Legion Post in Edwardsville coordinates the annual parade each year, which started near Eden Church, goes through downtown and all the way to near Lincoln Middle School.
All along the way, people sat wrapped in hooded shirts, hats and blankets to salute those who presently serve in the military and all those who made sacrifices serving their country.
Ron Eberhardt, who was one of the lead organizers of the parade, said it is something the Post looks forward to every year.
There were veterans of past military times to modern day who participated in the parade. Eberhardt said there have been many in the service that lost their lives in different wars and served our country throughout history. He said they deserve to have a day and a parade to honor them. Every era from World War II on down was represented at the parade in one form or another.
“We certainly like to see younger people come out and see the parade,” Eberhardt said. “There have only been a few times since we started the parade that we have had to cancel because of the weather. There has to be driving rain or lightning for it to be cancelled or it goes on every year.”
The Edwardsville High School Marching Band led the multiple bands who participated in the parade.
Eberhardt served in Vietnam and said those who served our country helped make America free. The Edwardsville American Legion Post welcomes Iraq and Afghanistan veterans with open arms. He said he is glad to see veterans today are embraced and welcomed for their service, which is contrary to how many Vietnam War veterans felt when they returned to the country.
That (the Vietnam War period) was a very dark time and I am glad it is not like that now,” he said.