Crowd gathers for annual Memorial Day Parade

FORT WAYNE, Ind. – The annual Memorial Day Parade on Parnell Avenue and the ceremony at Veteran’s Plaza of the Allen County War Memorial Coliseum drew thousands Monday morning.

“I can’t really begin to imagine the sacrifices that they’ve made for our benefit and if taking one afternoon a year to come out and try to show them a little support I think that’s the least we could all do,” Edmond Strange said at the parade.

The event was organized by the Allen County Council of Veterans and has become a tradition for many people young and old.

“Especially the young people have to realize that their benefits did not come cheap and there was a price to pay for that,” Korean War Veteran Walt Ostermeyer said.

The parade, which began at the corner of Parnell Avenue and State Boulevard, ended at the Memorial Coliseum. For veteran advocate Stephanie McKenzie, it was also a way to honor those men and women who’ve suffered from invisible battle wounds.

“We lose 22 veterans a day in this country to suicide. That’s only an approximation. We’re here today to represent the 22 veterans a day lost in this country,” McKenzie said.

After the parade, a Memorial Day ceremony was held just outside of the Coliseum’s Memorial Hall at the Veteran’s Plaza.