Veteran's Day Parade Special Guest

By KBJR News 1

November 11, 2011 Updated Nov 11, 2011 at 6:07 PM CST

Duluth, MN (Northlands NewsCenter) -- Duluth has a proud history of service by veterans from all branches of the military, and today they were honored at the annual veteran's day parade.

The Veteran's day parade and ceremony after wards has evolved into a community enriching experience. From Sixth graders to Tuskegee airmen, even man's best friend got into the celebration that is Duluth's Veterans Day.

It's a once a year march for Duluth Veterans. With every branch represented on the streets of Duluth, and a man on a Harley to lead the way.

"It's a honor to be able to lead something like this, you know after all our soldiers have done for us and to be able to be up in front and show them that we're proud of them it's a real honor."

Gerald Ely served his country in the Army for 20 years.

Richard Kern was the youngest man on his crew. His fellow soldiers called him "Baby Face" back in 1943. A member of the Army Air force, he's happy today gives him a chance to see old friends.

Today is a real wonderful day for me. You see a lot of my old friends that you haven't seen for many years.

As the troops marched into the DECC, they were greeted by 6th grade students from the area schools. One of the few remaining Tuskegee airmen, Joseph Gomer, was happy to address the students and stressed the importance of strength between the ears.

"Well I stressed the education point. The fact that the veterans of yesterday and today have made it possible for them to be anything that they want to be. I never thought I'd have a black commander and chief at the time."

Gomer believes the excitement of today's parade and events shouldn't overshadow the work that is done everyday by soldiers. He asks to remember everyday.

"Everyday is veterans day. We can't really honor our veterans on a one day basis."

Gomer was introduced by U-S Representative Chip Cravaack this morning. Duluth Mayor Don Ness was at the celebration as well to honor our area service men and women.

A group of Duluth Veterans is working to create a life-size statue of Tuskegee pilot Joe Gomer for the new Duluth International Airport terminal. The Duluth resident flew 68 combat missions in World War Two.

Jordan Weinand
jweinand@northlandsnewscenter.com