TERRE HAUTE —
While Monday’s Veterans Day Parade through downtown Terre Haute was short in duration, the importance of it was not lost on many who lined Wabash Avenue under overcast morning skies.
“We saw a lot of our fellow friends and soldiers that didn’t make it back,” said Dale Garloch, 67, of Terre Haute as he watched the parade pass on Wabash Avenue at Eighth Street. “I’m lucky that I got back without getting injured.”
Garloch said he served from 1965 to 1967 in the U.S. Army’s 11th Armored Calvary Regiment during the Vietnam War.
“I came out to pay my respect and to remember those days,” said Garloch, who was drafted on Nov. 23, 1965, just over a year after he had graduated from high school.
“Since I was with the 11th Armored Calvary,” Garloch said, “they just kinda sent us everywhere that they needed a lot of firepower because we had tanks and personnel carriers. We got to see a lot of the country, not that is was pleasant.
“Because we had so much firepower, they sent us to all the hot spots,” he said. “They even floated us in LST ships up to South China Sea to a hot spot, then over to Cambodia,” he said.
“I am proud to serve,” he said. “My dad (Odus Dale Garloch) served in the Navy in World War II, and my uncle (Robert T. Jones) served in the Marine Corps in WWII. My family has a history of serving. I am glad I could do my part and come back.”
Mike Huddleson, who served in the U.S. Army from 1967 to 1970, came to the parade with his wife, Helen, and their two grandchildren, ages 7 and 9.
“I feel like he fought for our country and all the veterans did. Two of the grandkids were out of school, so I wanted to bring them after they did their Veterans Day program at the school,” Helen Huddleson said.
“They [grandchildren] took medals to school to show them that Pappy [Mike Huddleson] got a Purple Heart,” Helen Huddleson said. Mike Huddleson said he was mine sweeping a road when shrapnel struck him from a rocket-propelled grenade.
Peggy Fagg attends annually in remembrance of her father, Roy Donald Smith Sr., who was a U.S. Navy veteran of World War II and Korea. Smith served as a past commander of Wayne Newton Post 346 of the American Legion nine times.
“He’s been gone 21 years now, but we still come out,” Fagg said.
Daryl Haltom of Terre Haute brought his 5- and 9-year-old granddaughters to watch the parade. “I explained to them what the parade is all about, about the military, the importance of what it is all about,” he said.
Larry Wright, 67, who lives in southern Vigo County, said he served in the Vietnam War from 1967 to 1968.
“I served during the Tet offensive. I think we all were scared. It was 13 months. I wouldn’t want to go through it again,” Wright said. “I came to honor my brothers in service,” he said of the parade.
Robert Eads, 76, and his wife, Margaret, stood next to First Financial Bank’s building along Wabash Avenue to watch the parade.
Eads said he served in the U.S. Army from 1956 to 1962. He was stationed at Fort Benning, Ga., and in Germany twice.
“I went into the military as a job to begin with, but learned a lot, a lot of respect. I also learned common sense,” Eads said. “I came out to show my respects.”
Brenda Peters came to watch the parade in honor of her son-in-law, Cliff Fulk, and brother-in-law, Bob Hughes. Next to her was David Welsh, who came to honor his cousin, Harold Rumple. “All of them served in Vietnam,” Welsh said. “When I get home, I will call them and thank them for serving out country.”
“We wanted to show our respect,” Peters said.
Ashley Jeffers came to the parade with her 3-year-old cousin, Jack Zurcher, and aunt, Carly Zurcher, of Terre Haute. “Veterans Day is important. It needs to be remembered,” Jeffers said.
“My dad was in the Army,” Carly Zurcher added. “I think it is important for the young kids to learn to respect the people in the military because they have made our country what it is.”
The parade ended at the VFW Post 972 at 12th and Mulberry streets. The ending included a 21-gun salute and a bugler playing taps.
At the VFW, Terre Haute Mayor Duke Bennett told the crowd that on Veterans Day, all differences and politics should be set aside to honor and thank veterans. “It shouldn’t be just one day, but 365 days, but this is the official day,” the mayor said,
Bennett said past veterans have inspired new people to serve in the military. “For people to continue to step up and decide to serve is because what a lot of you have done. That is why we still have a volunteer military,” the mayor said.
Vigo County Commissioner Judith Anderson said she wanted to thank all veterans for their service, saying her son was injured in military duty. “I just wanted to say from the deepest part of my heart and [on] behalf [of county commissioners], ‘Thank you.’ I just appreciate you all,” she said.
Reporter Howard Greninger can be reached at 812-231-4204 or howard.greninger@trib