"For the first time, it was outstanding," Dennis Fitzgerald said Saturday after the first parade for Veterans Day in Liberty County.
He organized the event and said it was on Saturday so veterans can participate in other events Wednesday, Nov. 11.
Jimmy Waynick, this year's Veteran of the Year for the Liberty County Veterans Council and marshal for the parade, said he was pleased with the turnout.
"We had good participation and we're proud of all those who have come out to thank us," The Vietnam veteran said.
Fitzgerald said the response encourages him for the future.
"Next year it will be bigger," he said, estimating 23 units participated in the parade. "I'll beat the bushes harder."
“There’s a certain cama-
raderie among veterans,” he said.
Hutchinson said now that his four daughters are grown, he spends most of his time with a close-knit group at the American Legion and the Veterans of Foreign Wars posts. They have bonded, he said, over their pride in service.
“I’m proud to have done what I did,” Hutchinson said, smiling.
On Saturday, Hutchinson marched in line with other area veterans in Hinesville’s first Veteran’s Day parade. He said it wasn’t something he had to think about twice.
“I love to march. I can still march a long way,” the veteran said.
VFW post commander Steven Wheeler served for 27 years in the Army, including two tours in Vietnam. After serving for the second time as the post commander, he said he’s glad veterans got the chance to participate in a parade honoring them.
He also said he’s looking forward to the post’s annual Veterans Day ceremony at 11 a.m. Wednesday at the VFW. It’s a very special day for him and for many others in the area, he said.
“I’m proud to be a veteran and I’m proud of what I’ve done for our country and I’ll keep on being proud. And I’m proud of the veterans we have out here on Fort Stewart ... I love this country,” Wheeler said.
Fort Stewart Garrison Commander Col. Kevin Milton will be the guest speaker Wednesday.
Fellow veteran Chris Flanery said celebrating Veterans Day and expressing appreciation for the troops can helps to boost veterans’ spirits.
“It’s a time for us to remember all those who have fallen and those still serving, so it’s very, very important,” he said. “If you see a soldier on the street, a lot of people don’t realize that if you thank them for their service, it means the world to them.”
Check out upcoming editions of the Courier for more Veterans Day coverage.