Riverside honors its veterans

Military vehicles drove along Magnolia Avenue as Riverside honored its veterans in the “A Salute to Veterans Parade” on April 21.

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By Courtney Coleman / Staff Writer

Waving old glory (Allison Perez / Photo Editor)

By Courtney Coleman / Staff Writer

Military vehicles rode along Magnolia Avenue as Riverside honored its veterans in the “A Salute to Veterans Parade” on April 21.

The parade started in the lower campus parking lot of Riverside City College as the participants geared up for the long route of the parade beginning at Ramona Street and ending on Tenth Street.

The parade featured World War II vehicles packed with military families, Scotsmen marching in kilts, and an appearance from the mayor and C-17 flyovers.

Organizations like the 82nd Airborne WWII Living History Association and The Combat Infantrymen’s Association had various cars in the parade too.

Other non-profits walked amongst the crowd, shaking hands and handing out medals to veterans standing by watching the festivities.

RCC’s Veterans Club members rode on a truck during the parade.

The club also hoped to let the community know they are doing their part to honor the veterans.

“It’s a great camaraderie builder for the veterans within the Veterans Club,” said Jose Villasenor, the club’s president. “We don’t have many things going for us within the school yet, so the first chance I saw (the parade) come up, I jumped on it for us to build cohesiveness within our club.”

Bystanders withstood the hot weather to show their respects to veterans and current military personnel.

Amid the crowd were veterans like Gill Zimmerman, who was overjoyed to see his community honoring men and women like him.

“We’ve been aware of the parade for several years and it’s a great thing,” he said.

Zimmerman came to Riverside in 1973 after receiving an offer to serve at March Airforce Base’s hospital and has been a part of the community ever since.

Other veterans like Bob Martinez, retired from the Marine Corps, was given the opportunity to participate in the parade itself.

“I was in the Marine Corps even though I’m in an Army jeep,” Martinez said. “It’s a great thrill.”

Some of the parade’s participants had family members who had served in the military.

For Fred McDowell, dressing up as a WWII paratrooper was his way of honoring his late father, Frank McDowell, who had served during WWII.

“(He) was a military police man, who right at the end of the second World War, was sent to Germany to look for fugitive Nazis and escort them to the trials at Nuremberg,” Fred said of his father’s duties. “Later after that he came back to the United States, joined the National Guard, and then he went to Japan; he got to see what it was like in both countries that had been devastated by war.”

The “A Salute to Veterans Parade” reminded the community not to forget our country’s heroes.

“I’m from the generation that when we grew up there were World War II veterans everywhere,” Fred said. “And now as they pass on, there are fewer and fewer people to tell their story.”

Other participants shared their appreciation for those who sacrificed their lives for their freedom.

“We are blessed to have freedom,” Annie Lunetta said. “Our veterans have lost their lives in order to give us that and we are proud to be part of this parade.”

Soldier in the field (Allison Perez / Photo Editor)

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