Brave veterans honored with a parade in Durango

[anvplayer video=”5147453″ station=”998122″]

DURANGO, C.O. – Hundreds of people lined the streets to watch the annual Durango Veterans Day Parade. 

One of the veterans walking in the parade was Mitch Gilliam.

“The Navy was my teacher, my mother, my father, and it’s really important for the people to understand the sacrifice,” said Gilliam.

It was on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month when World War I was laid to rest. 104 years later, we use this day to honor those who fought for freedom.  

“We deployed, we fought, we gave up our time and family, life and some people’s school, some people’s work so that we can have the freedoms that we have,” said Navy veteran and president of the Durango VFW and American Legion, Melinda Michael.

The cost of the flag is not forgotten on the streets of Durango.

“Back in my day when they went to Vietnam and the ratio death ratio was very high and one time, I remember I ran around with some Navy SEALs and their life expectancy in Vietnam was two weeks, so you think about a 17, 18-year-old kid giving his honor to the country, and that he would probably be dead in two weeks,” Gilliam said.

So, today we cheer for those who served, wave the flag in their honor and stand together.

“Being in Durango they always have this wonderful parade, and I am honored to be able to walk in it and participate with my brothers and sisters who have paid the price,” Gilliam added. “It’s nice to see there is a core of America that gets along and appreciates, ages small to old.”

Resident Allen Kirk says that appreciation is what this day is all about.

“We’ve been blessed with so many good things for so long because of those guys so I think it’s wonderful that we have the opportunity to honor them and reflect on them,” said Kirk. 

The Durango Veterans Day Parade started in 1945, and there are around 3,200 veterans who live in La Plata County.