Veterans and others gathered in Delaware County to take part in a small-town tradition honoring servicemen and servicewomen.
A rifle salute and the sounding of taps were a stirring tribute to those who died in service to the country. But Friday’s event at the courthouse in Media also honored veterans from World War II to Iraq and Afghanistan.
“We have 12 bands, you have close to 60 participating groups, a total of 3,000 to 4,000 in the parade and 5,000 to 10,000 in the streets,” said Mayor Bob McMahon, adding that the parade builds in popularity every year.
Rick Miller, who spent four years in the military, said he appreciates people coming out to support those who served.
“I’m very, very grateful on my behalf and behalf of my family for the service that other veterans have performed before and after my service,” Miller said.
But veterans need more than an annual wave of the flag or cheer from a crowd.
Keynote speaker Col. Maureen Weigl, who recently retired from the military, said an array of reasons — including homelessness — is keeping many veterans away from essential services for their well-being.
“There are still many struggling with the day-to-day tasks of finding employment,” she said. “I don’t think it’s that they don’t know that there’s care … there’s plenty of resources out there. It’s finding them that access to care, it’s helping them.”