Monday’s Veteran’s Day Parade drew tens of thousands of people to Downtown Fresno. It’s now billed as the largest Veteran’s Day Parade in the United States.
More than 3,500 people walk through the parade route, and about 15,000 attendees watch the festivities. This year’s theme that was honored was the Air Force.
“I want my children to know what these men and women did for us and for our freedom,” said Shawna Blevins, a Fresno mother.
Blevins and her sister-in-law Annette Phillips brought their young sons to the parade.
Phillips commented, “I want him to understand what his great-grandfathers, all four on both sides were veterans.”
These mothers hope the boys comprehend the sacrifice many have given to our country, like Army and Air Force veteran Robert Leisle. Leisle is 99-years old and fought in World War II.
He described, “For three weeks, we never ever took our shoes off and we slept through water half the time. Our toes were frozen and just miserable.”
Leisle attends the parade every year.
“Oh it’s fantastic! I’ve never been interviewed so much before!” exclaimed Leisle.
Phillips said she and her family will follow in Leisle’s shoes. For them, it’s a way to honor and respect the veterans.
“The courage, the bravery, all the dedication, and just that we live in the greatest country. And I want him to learn those values,” ended Phillips.
Next year will be the 100th Fresno Veteran’s Day Parade, and they will celebrate all the branches of the military.