Hundreds gather in Columbia to honor veterans at annual parade

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COLUMBIA – Despite the warm and muggy morning, hundreds of people packed downtown Columbia to celebrate Memorial Day.

"We like to come out and honor veterans and everybody who've served our country," said Dylan Seidt, 15, one of the people who came to enjoy the 30th Annual Salute to Veterans Parade.

Seidt and his parents have come to the parade for over ten years in a row.

"It's a family tradition we've had for years," he said. "My grandfather served in WWII."

General Frank J. Grass, with the US Army, was the general marshall of the parade. 

Marching bands from Columbia's high schools, the Dawn Patrol from Kansas City and floats were some of the features of the parade. 

Those watching the event held signs that read "thank you" as active military and veterans made their way through the streets.

Angela Hills came as a way to show support for her in-laws, who are both retired Navy and take part in the parade. 

"Remembering all of those who made sacrifices for our freedoms in this country is really important," she said.

Hills said her families come to the parade almost every year.

"We do enjoy coming out and seeing them in the parade," she said. "This year my son gets to ride along with them in the float, so that's exciting."

For Sonya Brown it was her first time coming to this event. 

"I came because my nephew wanted me to be there to see him march," she said.

Brown also said it is important for people to celebrate this holiday to recognize the service of veterans "as a support and showing love for the actual Memorial Day and what it stands for."

Seidt also added younger generations should be involved in recognizing the legacy of who have served their country.

"As like the next generation of Americans, I get to have freedom of speech, and get to be free to practice my own religion," he said. "That's because we were protected by the people who fought for our country, and fought to preserve our rights, home and abroad," he said.

The U.S. Army Parachute Team, The Black Daggers, were supposed to perform after the parade. However, after their plane had an engine failure Sunday during the Salute to Veterans Air Show they were not able to participate in the Monday celebrations.