Veterans Day 2018 – Marietta Veterans Day Parade
Mom & I Honored to be Selected for Interviews and Photo

With Veterans Day this year on a Sunday, the annual Marietta Veterans Day Parade would be on Saturday, November 10, 2018.
It was a clear bright sunny day with temperatures in the forties with a brisk on/off wind (10-20 mph). Despite conditions Mom (98 years young and aiming for more) was determined to brave it all in order to follow traditions to attend the Marietta Veterans Day Parade.

Arriving early to secure Mom’s favorite curbside spot (professional building at the rear and a tree offering partial blockage from the wind) she would have a full view of Roswell Street for 5-6 blocks and the approaching parade. Facing the sun provided some degree of warmth as well a nice wool cover as she still is recovering with a fractured coccyx from a fall in July.

As usual it was grand parade with most every high school band in Cobb County involved. Most interesting was that virtually all had service ROTC uniformed contingents marching with each band.

Special for Mom and I would be our being chosen at our curbside post for an interview by the Marietta Daily Journal respecting our attendance (as well my photo saluting the passing American Flag included as part of the published story).

Freedom is not Free.
God Bless

Marietta Thanks Veterans with Pomp and Parade

Residents of Marietta and Cobb County had a message for America’s veterans: thank you.

They expressed that message Saturday through waving flags, blaring horns, colorful floats and revving motorcycles during Marietta’s annual Veterans Day parade and ceremony.

The parade, which started at Roswell Street Baptist Church and went around the Marietta Square, featured marching bands and JROTC units, veterans groups waving from atop military vehicles and floats and other civic organizations

Hundreds lined the streets to watch the parade go by, including Kristen Rokozunisea, a stay-at-home mom from Marietta with her two sons, Josias, 2, and Kai, 5.

The young boys jumped with excitement and waved miniature American flags as the parade approached, led by the Marietta High School Air Force JROTC and the Marietta High Marching Band.

“Thank you!” the lads shouted each time a veteran rode or walked by.

Kristen Rokozunisea said she hopes to teach her sons to be grateful for America’s vets “so that they understand that people have sacrificed for them and for us so we can live the way we live and enjoy what we enjoy in peace. So they will appreciate what they helped provide.”

Elsewhere along the route was Woody Wollesen, retired Army veteran, of Marietta. He went to the parade with his mother, 98-year-old Leona Wollesen, who was wearing a red, white and blue cowboy hat. She said she has been attending Veterans Day events for decades and never misses Marietta’s annual event.

“I love a parade in the first place, and I like the Marietta parade because it’s always big and it’s always very well-represented by all the schools and whatnot,” she said.

For Woody Wollesen, who served in the Vietnam War, coming out to events like this is about paying tribute to his brothers and sisters in arms.

“Over one million Americans didn’t come back,” he said. “It’s just basic respect for your country, the flag, honor, integrity.”

The Wollesens spoke with the MDJ along the parade route after the event ended. As they spoke, a driver rolled down her window and shouted her thanks to Woody Wollesen.

He said interactions like that mean a lot to vets like him

“It’s obviously very gratifying,” he said. “It’s 100 percent difference from when I came back. That’s how it should be for every veteran.”

After the parade, the city and the Kiwanis Club of Marietta presented a ceremony in Glover Park, where the keynote speaker was Brig. Gen. Tom Blackstock of the Georgia Army National Guard.

Blackstock said only about one percent of Americans are serving in the military.

“For the other 99 percent of Americans, the imagination may play a trick,” he said. “I know when I think of veterans, I think of old and wise members of our community, we envision soldiers from the World War II era, the greatest generation. But the sad reality of it is that the torch is being passed to a new generation of veterans.”

Blackstock said this new generation faces new challenges than those who fought in previous wars, but he said all vets are part of the same family.

“What binds us together no matter where we served, whether we were overseas or here at home, no matter if our accents are different or our whatever our favorite teams are, all of us put our lives on the line for America,” he said.

The ceremony ended with a three-volley salute and the playing of taps by the Cobb County Sheriff’s Office Honor Guard.