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The Marching Mariners, a marching band from Beaufort, N.C., perform in the Carteret County Veterans Day parade in Morehead City, N.C., Nov. 10. The band played patriotic songs, including the Marine Corps hymn and “Anchors Away”.

Photo by Lance Cpl. Paul E. Wyatt

Veterans Day parade celebrates service members past and present

16 Nov 2012 | Lance Cpl. Paul E. Wyatt

MOREHEAD CITY, N.C. - Thousands of onlookers attended the Carteret County Veterans Day parade in Morehead City Nov. 10.
Parade participants gratuitously threw candy from an array of floats which included themes ranging from a dancing Spiderman to a fire-spewing hot-air balloon.

More important was the respect and thanks offered to service members, both past and present. Participants on nearly every float voiced their thanks to the spectators, many of whom were veterans.

One of the most heartfelt moments of the parade was a Boy Scout troop who took the time to shake the hand of every veteran wearing something signifying that they had served. One of the recipients of this gratitude was Robert Oslin of Atlantic, N.C.

“Veterans Day didn’t used to mean anything to me until I moved down here,” said Oslin, who moved to North Carolina eight years ago from Pennsylvania. “People treat veterans’ great down here. It’s a normal part of the community.”

The parade had a somewhat different meaning to one Marine who attended. Staff Sgt. Chad Kuczka, an imagery analyst with Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Squadron 2, felt that the most important aspect of Veterans Day was thanking everybody who served before him, as well as the camaraderie among all service members.
“It’s ridiculous how much pride everyone has,” Kuczka said. “The respect everyone who has and is still serving has for one another is amazing.”

For the organizers, putting on a great show was a priority. Pam Nardini, who works for the Veterans Service Office in Morehead City, wanted to contribute as much as she could.

“We wanted to give back something to those who serve for our freedom,” said Nardini. “If it was not for them, we would not have the freedoms we have today.”

Clay Bradt, a volunteer organizer for the parade, is also a Marine veteran with 15 years of service who served in Grenada, Lebanon, and Iraq. He said recognizing veterans is important.

“These ladies and gentleman didn’t have to serve,” Bradt said. “They chose to serve. Those chose to protect their country and their loved ones.”

Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point