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  • Monday, August 25, 2014

    Cooler Temps Prevail for National Parade

    CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Mother Nature was kind to the parade marchers and spectators at the 96th National American Legion Convention in Charlotte Aug. 24.

    After the previous day’s temps had soared into the 90s, a cold front dropped the temperature to 78 when the parade got underwayin downtown Charlotte. Even better, the humidity was only at 61 percent, and clouds kept the sun hidden for most of the day.

    The American Legion Riders again led off the parade, which featured retired Navy Capt. Terry A. Bragg as grand marshal and Past National Commander Jim Koutz as honorary grand marshal. All 55 departments followed, including the Department of New York with Department Commander Frank Peters leading the contingent. Other participants included past national commanders, American Legion Auxiliary and Sons of The American Legion, Legion and high school bands, and other dignitaries.

    Among those watching the parade was 28-year-old North Carolina resident Nicholas Smith, who stood along the street and saluted the colors as each delegation passed. “I just have so much respect for those who have served, and I wanted to show that respect,” Smith said.

    Another spectator, 7-year-old Jordan Mahar, wore a legion hat and saluted veterans as they walked by during the parade, the Charlotte Observer reported. Mahar’s grandfather, Robert Gardner, served in the Navy during the Vietnam War and marched with the New York department.

    “We believe in honoring our servicemen and women for what they’ve done for us,”  Gardner’s wife, Vivian Gardner, of Whitney Point, NY, told the Observer. “They’ve given their time and sometimes their lives to keep us safe.”