The march was short – from a block down Wood Avenue, but the flags carried down the street by the honor guard were horizontal in the breeze – each stripe and star visible.
Visibly moved by the march to John Philip Sousa’s “Stars and Stripes Forever,” the crowd grew silent, even the children stopped running about.
Smaller versions of Old Glory, placed meticulously around the square, mimicked the larger versions.
One of the speakers reminded those attending, “America is in the mall, America is not at war — our soldiers are at war.”
Another who has been on the front lines of battle gave the crowd a glimpse of war that continues to rage in Afghanistan.
“One minute you’re talking to your buddy and the next minute he’s dead.”
High school student Zeke Montalvo played a moving version of Taps, Neal Haertig sang his rendition of the Star-Spangled Banner and the honor guard fired off a 21-gun volley. When all was said and done, a feast was served to the crowd – all free to everyone who stopped by.
Brothers Eddie, Tony and Leo Abila of Woodsboro had thought of every detail. Since their childhood friend Angel Vega died in Vietnam, they vowed never to forget him or his sacrifice for this country and they continue to uphold their promise.