Nashvillians gathered along Broadway on Friday morning to celebrate those who have served in the United States armed forces, including members of a variety of veterans and service groups, as well as civilians who showed their appreciation for those who served and continue to serve.
The parade was led by the Antioch High School Marching Band, whose director Frank Zimmerer said that the band has led the parade for the last two years, something that he said is a great opportunity for his students to show off their musical talents in support of veterans.
Murfreesboro resident John Jaques, a U.S. Navy veteran who served on the USS Ohio from 1983-86, attended the parade with several other submarine veterans who have gathered together for the parade for the 24th year.
“The submarine service is the silent service, so you don’t hear much about them, you don’t see much about them, they’re never well-publicized, but we feel that it’s important to be a part of the Veterans Day parade just so people see that there’s a group of us here and we’re honoring the memory of our departed shipmates.”
Retired U.S. Navy Master Chief Sheila Shipman served from 1986 through 2010 and now works with the U.S. Veterans Benefits Administration in Nashville and attends the parade each year with friends and colleagues to support her brothers and sisters.
Retired U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Willie Parham lives in North Nashville and served from 1971-2003. He was one of the last of the Vietnam War-era draftees and continued to serve in the Army Reserve, including service in Desert Storm.
Parham said he’s been attending the parade every year for more than a decade, and while the turnout of civilian attendees has dropped over the years, he’s still showing up just like he showed up for his country for more than 30 years.
“It’s a different world when you come back,” Parham said, adding that despite the challenges that veterans face returning home, he “feels pride” seeing civilians lining the street and recognizing the service and sacrifice of veterans of all branches of service and eras.