Veterans caravan canceled for Memorial Day

Veterans caravan canceled for Memorial Day

Brevard veteran of D-Day, Battle of the Bulge dies at 90

World War II veterans won’t get to ride in the Memorial Day Parade in Fairport this year, because organizers said it took too long to get the veterans out of the cars and up to Potter Park for the ceremony. Board members at Perinton’s VFW Post, which puts on the parade, voted to cancel the convertible caravan that carried WWII veterans in the parade. “Trying to get a 91 year old man out of a Corvette this low to the ground and then get him into a wheelchair back up to the park…it adds another half hour onto the event,” said Vietnam veteran and parade organizer Dick Grube. “It’s something I look forward to every year,” said Warren Shaddock. The 91-year-old World War II veteran said he will watch the parade from the sidelines, unable to walk the route. “Most of the World War II veterans now are probably in their 90s and many of them are either in nursing homes or they are certainly getting around with a cane or a walker,” he said. A veteran of the U.S. Navy, Shaddock was stationed at Pearl Harbor and later sent to Hiroshima after the atomic bomb was dropped. “It was something I will never forget,” said Shaddock. He lost a lot of friends and returned to home to Rochester with memories most can’t even imagine. “He’s told me stories that just tug at your heartstrings and it’s very emotional but it’s also what real life is about during war,” said Shaddock’s wife Marlene. “It’s important to not forget the sacrifices that others have made so that we can be free.” Shaddock said he rode in Fairport’s Memorial Day Parade to represent those friends who were killed in combat. “I had several friends that…,” Shaddock said before pausing for a moment, “…they are the real heroes the ones that weren’t able to come home.” But the commander of VFW Post 8495 said too much of the focus is on celebrating those who have served and not remembering the people who died. “We fail to remember in this parade what it’s all about,” said Vietnam veteran Roy LaRose. “It’s about these (servicemen) that didn’t make it back from all these wars and conflicts that we’ve had over the years.” LaRose said the VFW posts wants to bring back the somber traditions of Memorial Day “Please do not throw candy, it’s not that kind of celebration,” he said. With five to 50 convertibles used during the event, organizers said the parade got too big, and now they want to bring it back to the basics. World War II veterans and the convertible caravans started the parade, and organizers said it backed up the entire event. “I think, practically, it has come so big that it’s become unworkable,” said Bob Hickey. A Vietnam veteran and convertible owner, Hickey has driven World War II veterans in the parade for the last few years. “The support, the applause, the cheers that they got I think was very special, I know it was heartwarming to them and it was heartwarming to me as a veteran,” said Hickey. He and Shaddock said they are sad to see the convertible caravan get cut from the parade, but both understand the VFW’s decision. Hickey said it took so long that his car stalled and it had to be pushed through the parade in 2013. Grube said they would never want to exclude any veterans. “It got too big. We did such a good job with it, we got overwhelmed with it, and that’s what took place. We got to get to back to what it should be.” Chairs will be set up in the shade at Potter Park and like every year, the World War II veterans will be honored during the ceremony after the parade passes by. LaRose said veterans are always welcome to walk in the parade, and limited seating will be available for those who are unable to walk and want to ride in a truck or van.

 

 

 

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