A group of men stand in the road holding flags.
The Lincoln Veterans Parade is kicked off on Saturday, Nov. 9, 2019 in Lincoln, Nebraska

Hundreds of people turned out on Saturday, Nov. 9, in an effort to honor military service members at Lincoln’s second annual Veterans Parade. The parade featured 74 groups that included high school bands, floats and veteran’s organizations.

The parade kicked off with a speech by City Councilman and veteran Roy Christensen.

“This day is about veterans,” he said. “This day is about honoring them.”

In addition to the nine Lincoln area high school bands that performed, some of the parade entries included the Military Order of the Purple Heart, the Veterans Memorial Garden and the Sons and Daughters of the American Revolution. The participants walked and drove the half-mile route down K Street and ended up in front of the state Capitol.

This year’s parade commemorated the 75th anniversary of D-Day and the Battle of Normandy. Antonio Marino, the Lincoln Veterans Parade Commander, said that celebrations like this are there to be a reminder to people of the events that took place.

“These milestones give everybody a chance to honor and celebrate all the sacrifices of those men and women,” he said.

Marino said that since the parade is so important they started a nonprofit organization called the Lincoln Veterans Parade Group to be able to organize the parade and put it on. He said it takes a lot of discipline, leadership and organizational skills, skills that he learned during his time in the Marine Corps.

“That’s what we do in the Marine Corps,” he said. “We get in, we get things started and we don’t leave until everything’s buttoned up and cleaned and organized.”

Brig. Gen. Roma Amundson also spoke at the parade.

“We are very grateful to the veterans; they are our nation’s heroes and we honor them today,” she said. “Veterans are examples of ideals of valor and bravery…[and] we appreciate all veterans of honorable and faithful service to our great nation.”

I am a senior at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and am studying journalism and English. I am from Omaha, Nebraska, and will be graduating from UNL in May 2020.