Parade brings out patriotism on Veterans Day
By Nathan Hardin
SALISBURY — Part of Louis Jones’ experience in the Army during World War II was simply waiting.
He waited alongside his fellow soldiers for a call from headquarters that determined when he started firing.
Jones was in an Army tank destroyer unit from 1941 to 1946.
He said the first call was to begin firing. The second call gave new coordinates, or said the movement had stopped.
“If there was no movement, they would say mission accomplished,” Jones said. “It was quite an experience.”
The 90-year-old was aboard the Veterans State Home float for Friday’s Veterans Day parade through downtown Salisbury.
Flags waved in the wind as Jones’ float began slowly moving down South Main Street at about 2:30 p.m. along with ROTC marches and military vehicles.
“I heard a lot of people telling me how to stay out and how to keep out of the war,” Jones said of his pre-military days. “I wanted to go in defense of my country. I was ready to go when I was called.”
Jones said Veterans Day reignites the patriotism that made him go into the military.
“I’m an old man now,” he said, laughing. “I’m 90 years old, but if I could go back in right now, I would.”
Jones’ patriotism was echoed in many war veterans who rode on floats or stood beside the road to watch their brothers in honor go by.
One of the differences this year was the burnt red, rusty steel carted on a bright red trailer and a sign that read, “In Honor of the World Trade Center.”
Benny Fulcher, an Army veteran from 1967 to 1971, stood with his granddaughter on Main Street as the trailer went by.
Fulcher said he told the 5-year-old about the steel slab’s meaning.
“I explained it to her, but she’s not quite ready to understand it yet,” Fulcher said.
Fulcher said he brought his granddaughter to the parade because “it’s a good thing for her to grow up and learn.”
Salisbury Fire Department Capt. B. Fox was the driver pulling the World Trade Center steel through the parade.
“It’s a great honor with all our veterans on both sides,” he said.
Fox called the first parade near the VA Hospital “emotional.”
“It was very positive,” Fox said.
Harry Troop of China Grove was a fellow float rider Friday.
The 84-year-old Troop was stateside when he joined in 1945.
Troop, who rode with the North Carolina Blinded Veterans Association, began losing his sight after a couple months in service because of a rare disease and was discharged shortly after.
Troop said he hasn’t driven since he was 21.
Over the years, Troop has been to many parades and said it seems that Sept. 11 changed Americans. “People have been more patriotic over the last couple of years,” he said.
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