Columbus honors veterans

Despite cool temperatures and a brisk wind hundreds of people lined High Street to honor veterans. Leading the parade were members of the Columbus-based Lima Company.

Joe Hart a Marine infantryman from 1960 to 1967 said he came to the parade to pay tribute to other service members and his fellow Marines like those in Lima Company who have suffered heavy losses in recent months.

With Lima Company and all their huge sacrifice over in Iraq being the lead unit here we’re going to get a lot of us old-timers out here to salute them.

Hart’s passion for the Marine Corp is just as strong today as it was more than forty years ago.

This is a great day; first of all, it’s the 230th birthday of my beloved Marine Corps.

Downtown worker, Beverly Terrell, wore an American flag sweater and waved a flag as she watched the festivities on her lunch hour. Terrell, whose son is in the Army and has been to Afghanistan and Iraq several times, said she was not going to miss the parade.

I’m just so grateful and so thankful that we’re able to come and see a parade like this today. I just get emotional about it.

Members from the Armed Forces from wars past like World War Two rode in the parade. Former Second World War POW, Richard Neff, sat in the back of a convoy truck before the start of the parade. Neff, who served two years in the Army Air Corps, flew planes out of Italy.

I was shot down over Marymoor, Yugoslavia and there was only five of us that got out alive. How many started out? Ten men. Ten men on a crew and there was only five of us that got out alive.

Private first class Lauren Perchner is an aviation operations specialist in the Ohio National Guard at Rickenbaker. While Perchner has not been overseas, she said she came to the parade to honor the troops who have.

Our unit just got back from Kosovo so we’re out here honoring all of them. All of our friends that left while we stayed behind. And we’re also honoring the Marines who are right down the street from us that got back too. So it’s special. It’s something that means more once you’ve actually been in the service.

Koren War Veteran and Metal of Honor winner Ronald Rosser was grand marshal of the events.

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