With sunny skies and temperatures into the 70s, Sunday's weather seemed custom-made for Marietta's Veterans Day celebration, drawing hundreds who lined the streets for the annual parade and ceremonies that followed.
Nine-year-old Jadin Buckman of Marietta knew what Veterans Day was all about as he shook the hand of Vietnam veteran Larry Block and thanked him for his service.
"I'm probably going to join someday, too," Buckman said.
Jadin Buckman, 9, of Marietta thanks Vietnam veteran Larry Block of Belpre for his military service during Veterans Day ceremonies at East Muskingum Park Sunday afternoon.
SAM SHAWVER The Marietta Times
Block, 62, of Belpre, served with a U.S. Army Airborne unit during the war, and served in Cambodia from 1969 to 1971. He was the third American to touch down on Cambodian soil in 1969.
"Be sure and become a paratrooper so you can jump out of planes like we did," he told Jadin.
Asked why he thanked veterans for their military service, Jadin said it felt good.
History of Veterans Day
At end of World War I an armistice was reached between the Allied Forces and Germany at the 11th hour of the 11th day of November, 1918.
President Woodrow Wilson proclaimed the first official Armistice Day on Nov. 11, 1919.
Congress declared Armistice Day a legal federal holiday in 1938.
President Dwight D. Eisenhower on June 1, 1954, signs legislation changing the holiday name to Veterans Day.
Congress passed the Monday Holiday Law in 1968 which established the fourth Monday in October as the new date for the observance of Veterans Day. The law is to take effect in 1971.
Between 1971 and 1975 several states change their Veterans Day holidays back to the original Nov. 11 date.
In 1975 federal legislation is passed to return the Veterans Day observance to Nov. 11.
Veterans Day observance officially reverted to the Nov. 11 date in 1978.
"Becaue they've helped us," he said. "If they didn't we might not be alive today. Or maybe we would still be alive, but we wouldn't have our freedom."
John Lawrence of Vincent, who works with the National Guard Bureau in Washington, D.C., brought his whole family to Sunday's ceremonies. He was glad to see the crowds turn out on Veterans Day.
"Patriotism never goes away," Lawrence said. "In some years it's just more openly displayed than in others. But we love these small towns, and Marietta always has a good Veterans Day celebration."
Bryan Moffatt of Marietta also brought his family to witness Sunday's parade.
"We bring the kids out to educate them about our veterans and what they've done for our country," he said. "And when they get older I hope the'll do the same with their children. Our veterans have given a lot for us."
The parade ended at East Muskingum Park with ceremonies that included a 21-gun salute by veterans in memory of their fallen comrades.
Regis Kern, commander of American Legion Post 64 in Marietta, reminded the crowd that Veterans Day is to be celebrated at the 11th hour on the 11th day of the 11th month of every year.
"How quickly the nation forgets those who fought and died for their country," he said. "But every day is a blessing that reminds me of my brothers in arms who didn't come home from the wars and who won't be remembered unless we commit to remember them."
Former U.S. Marine and Marietta Mayor Joe Matthews was keynote speaker during Sunday's event.
"Veterans Day is a reminder to guard the legacy that has been left us by our forefathers," he said. "That legacy is freedom in every American heart. It's central to our being, but is only attained through eternal vigilance. And freedom is never free."
Matthews said that's why the nation must keep its arms at the ready and its military forces strong.
"America can never fully repay our veterans for their service, but we must not forget the sacrifices of all those who served in wars and conflicts," he said. "Our veterans have served us well, and we must continue to honor and support them."