Iowans Gather in Downtown Des Moines to Honor Veterans, Service Members
Cars, floats, bands and even service dogs participate in parade.
Saturday morning's cool weather made downtown Des Moines a great place to watch a parade.
Iowans lined Grand Avenue, starting at the state Capitol, to watch "A Salute to Our Veterans and Service Members Parade." The parade was meant to coincide with the U.S. Department of Defense's commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the Vietnam War, and the 60th anniversary of the Korean War.
Ethan Ragner, 14, held a sign throughout the parade that thanked veterans for their service. Ragner, a West Des Moines resident, is a member of the organization Children of the American Revolution. His ancestor, Peter Wheeler, fought in the Revolutionary War.
Ragner's grandmother, Donna Ragner, said she and her family had distributed about 80 flags to parade-goers from the CAR.
"We know when people want to be patriotic, they want to hold onto something," Donna Ragner said. "The children know that waving a flag is like a smile."
Closer to the start of the parade, Altoona resident Jerry Wells had tucked a flag into the interwoven steel arms of the Iowa State Workers Monument. Wells said the flag was from the funeral of decorated World War II veteran Glen McDole, who passed away in 2009.
Wells said he placed the flag as a way to show support for the military. His nephew is currently serving in Afghanistan, and his grandfather and brother are veterans.