Chicago Veterans Day Parade honors local veterans

November 12, 2012 (CHICAGO)

ABC7's Evelyn Holmes was in Chicago's Bronzeville neighborhood Monday, where vets marched in the annual Veterans Day Parade.

"Everyone should come out here for this," said Bronzeville resident Lisa Washington. "It's cold. But that's okay. We're warming up with all the excitement. And I'm just happy to be here for our veterans every day."

For an 86th year, the annual Veterans Day parade marched up Martin Luther King Junior Drive from 43rd to 35th Street.

"I'm just elated, just because veterans and their families make a tremendous sacrifice to do with they do," said parade organizer Col. Eugene Scott.

Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White, a U.S. Army vet, served as this year's grand marshal.

"I think we should pat them on the back and thank them for a job well done," White said, "because this is the greatest country on the face of the earth."

Cold conditions kept the large crowds away, but not Iraq war veteran Lisa Daniels, who says it is important not just to honor vets but also get them the support they need. Daniels has been looking for work for over a year now.

"I'm greater than 30 percent disabled, and that's a major problem," said Daniels. "They're not hiring the veterans that have disabilities."

The procession of ROTC bands and veterans ended with a ceremony at the historic Victory Monument, where the Montford Point Marines were recognized. They are the first black marine unit to serve in World War II and recently received the Congressional Gold Medal.

Veterans from the Vietnam era also received a special honor.

"It was a hell of a thing to be coming back from Vietnam, being shell-shocked, not appreciated and not being able to get a job," said Vietnam veteran Willie Hodges. "But things are changing."

The servicemen and women joined community leaders for a wreath laying as many in attendance acknowledged the commitment of those who have made the ultimate sacrifice in the name of freedom.

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