Veterans gather for Clovis homecoming parade

September 8, 2012 12:00:00 AM PDT
Hundreds of veterans gathered in Old Town Clovis for the West Coast's first homecoming parade in their honor.

A ceremonial gun salute jump-started the first veterans homecoming parade in Old Town Clovis. But then there was a silent moment to remember a fallen soldier who never made it back home.

Staff Sergeant Jose Carlos Rangel died while deployed in Kuwait. On Saturday his wife and children remained thankful the community has not forgotten his service.

"Honored that they still remember. I mean it's been seven years and they still do care and I appreciate that very, very much," Noemi Rangel of Fresno said.

People who lined the parade route also showed their appreciation for every veteran who took part in this tribute.

Organizers say more than three hundred Iraq, Afghanistan and Vietnam vets were honored for their sacrifices.

"I was just happy to have the soldiers see us here and know that we appreciate them and thank them for what they do for our country," Marti Nicely said.

Many also got a chance to learn about local resources available to past military members. Pierra Saint-Fleur served three tours in Iraq and was on hand to help those facing tough transitions.

"In the war zone sometimes we see things and experience things that are not within the normal range of day to day life," Saint-Fleur said.

John Schuler showed up to support service members who struggle with homelessness.

"When you look at homeless veterans not all of them are on the streets. Some of them are living in mom and dad's spare bedroom, some of them are living in mom and dad's garage," Schuler said.

Even though many veterans are still facing tough battles at home, the gathering gave them a chance to know they're not alone.


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