by Josh Jones
TROY — Patriotism was on full display as the 2023 Veterans Day Parade hosted by Troy VFW Post 976 and Auxiliary was held Sunday afternoon.
The event began with the parade going from Market Street and ending at the Troy Park Memorial. Children waved American flags as various veterans, first responders and community leaders walked the streets. At the ceremony Commander of Troy VFW Post 976 Tony Avers welcomed everyone. An invocation and the Pledge of Allegiance was conducted. Avers next invited Major Jim Decarli, United States Marine Corps retired, who said a few words.
“It makes me feel really good to see the turnout today (compared to) the last couple of years, really good and much appreciated,” Decarli said.
Decarli then read a poem from an unknown author that explains that while we all enjoy our freedoms in our respective professions and ways of life, it is only because of the sacrifices of our veterans that we can enjoy those freedoms. Avers then returned to the podium
“Today we pay tribute to those veterans who have worn the uniform of the United States of America,” Avers said. “Each of these men and women took an oath to defend America and they upheld that oath with honor and decency. Every American no matter where they live or what they do reaps the benefits of their service. Throughout the generations they have humbled dictators, liberated continents and set a standard of courage and idealism for the entire world.”
Avers said on Veterans Day we also remember the troops who left America’s shores, but did not return to be thanked as veterans.
“We remember the men and women in uniform whose fate is still undetermined, our prisoners of war and those missing in action. America must never forget their courage and we will not stop searching until we have accounted for every Soldier, Sailor, Airman and Marine missing in the line of duty,” Avers said. “All of America’s veterans have placed the nation’s safety and security before their own lives. Their sacrifice creates a great debt that America can never fully repay. Today should also be a day of reflection, a day when every American takes time to consider the legacy, freedom and liberty that has been passed to us.”
Avers thanked Troy VFW Post 976, the Post 976 Honor Guard, Troy Mayor David Nonn, City of Troy, the Troy Police Department, Troy Fire, the Troy Parks Department, the Girls Scouts and Boy Scouts of Southern Illinois, the Troy Lions Club and everyone else who assisted with making the program possible.
“Remember the memories of our heroes last as long as we demand, it is our mission to demand more and they deserve nothing less,” Avers said.
After the ceremony the public was invited back to the VFW Post for refreshments.