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National Guard salutes Veterans at annual Jackson parade
JACKSON, Mo. -- Five Missouri National Guard vehicles were among those that cruised down Main Street in Jackson on Veterans Day, in an annual parade that salutes the nation's servicemen and women who have served in conflicts past and present.
The crowd waved small flags, applauded and one long-haired veteran in an Army jacket offered a stiff salute as the Guard trucks and other military branches that were represented drove and marched past.
Members of the Jackson-based 1137th Military Police Company and the Cape Girardeau-based 735th Force Providers organized the local Guard participation. The Guard has participated in the Veterans Day Parade for many years.
"It reminds folks about the National Guard here and it lets the public know we support them," said Sgt. 1st Class Byron Wilkerson, a Jackson recruiter who drove in the parade. "We also want to let the Veterans know we support them, too -- those from the past and the ones serving now."
Four of the Guard vehicles were Humvees and one was what Wilkerson called "a hot rod truck," that was a GMC Sonoma, that is emblazoned with Guard logos and images. One of the vehicles was a new, up-armored Humvees and the rest were standard Humvees.
The Missouri National Guard Citizen-Soldiers who participated also included Sgt. 1st Class Jay Moore, Staff Sgt. Jamie Huskey, Sgt. Brenda Zimmerman, Spc. Michael Pagel and Spc. Rebecca Smith.
Sgt. 1st Class Moore, a Jackson resident who works full-time at the armory in Cape Girardeau, is also an Iraq War Veteran. He participates in the parade because he said it's important for the public to never forget the sacrifices military men and women have made for their country throughout the course of history.
"We want to show some respect for veterans and we also know that so many people do appreciate our involvement," Moore said. "Jackson is a very patriotic town and the reaction from the public is always very positive. We really enjoy doing this every year."
The public does appreciate the Guard's involvement, said David Ludwig, the Americanism chairman of the American Legion Post 158 in Jackson, which coordinates the parade every year. Ludwig is also the Cape Girardeau County auditor.
"It's really important to us to have the Guard's involvement," Ludwig said. "The Guard's presence at the parade is a very good example of coordination between the Guard and the community and how they fit in here."
The Guard, Ludwig said, is made up of family men and women who serve their country and epitomizes the meaning of Veterans Day.
"We want our Guard Soldiers to be visible in the parade," he said. "They are an example of what Veterans Day is all about."
Other military organizations were represented in the parade, including the Southeast Missouri ROTC, the American Legion Posts 63 and 158 and the Marine Corps Honor Guard. High school bands played patriotic tunes along the route as well.
E.P. "Pug" Kurre, a World War II veteran served as parade marshal.
"I wouldn't want to have the National Guard not participate in the parade," Ludwig said. "They always bring a lot to it."
For more information about the Missouri National Guard, please call 1-800-GoGuard or visit www.moguard.com.
For more information about this release, please contact Scott Moyers at 573-339-6264 or at firstname.lastname@example.org